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January, 1839. 





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" There's many a one who oft has heard 

The name of Robert Kyd, 
Who cannot tell, perhaps, a word 
Of him, or what he did. 

" So, though I never saw the man, 

And lived not in his day, 
I'll tell you how his guilt began 
To what it led the way." 



VOL. I. 




Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1838, 

In the Clerk's Office of the Southern District of New-York. 







Hespectfullg Enscvtfceu. 


THE following dramatic romance consists of two 
acts, with an interval of five years between them. 
The time and action of the first part, the scene of 
which is placed in the south of Ireland, are com 
prised in something less than three days ; that of 
the second, the scenes of which are laid in New- 
York Bay and on its adjacent shores, embraces a 
somewhat longer space of time, the two comprising 
the most prominent crises of the hero's life one 
giving the colouring to the whole of his subsequent 
career, which in the other is brought to its close. 

Natchez, Miss., Jan., 1839. 

B O O K I 


" A lady should not scorn 
One soul that loves her, howe'er lowly it be." 


" 'Twere idle to remember now, 

Had I the heart, my thwarted schemes. 

I bear beneath this alter'd brow 
The ashes of a thousand dreams 

Some wrought of wild Ambition's fingers, 
Some colour'd of Love's pencil well 


Ambition has but foil'd my grasp, 
And Love has perish'd in my clasp." 







" Oh, bold Robin Hood 

Was a forester good 
As ever drew bow in the merry green wood , 

And what eye hath e'er seen 

Such a sweet maiden queen 
As Marian the pride of the forester's green." 

ON a rocky headland that stretches boldly out 
into the bosom of one of the lakelike bays that in 
dent the southern shore of Ireland, stands a pictu 
resque ruin, half hidden to the eye of the voyager 
amid a group of old trees. With its solitary square 
tower, and warlike battlements jagged and stern in 
their desolation, it still wears an air of imposing 
grandeur, that conveys some idea of its ancient 
baronial state. It is known by the name of " old 
Castle Cor ;" and in its palmy days was the summer 
abode of the last Earl of Bellamont. 

On a bright morning in the merry month of May, 
in the year sixteen hundred and ninety-four, its now 
silent halls rung with the joyous voices and noisy 
sports of a score of gallant youths and noble maid 
ens, gathered there, from many a lordly roof both 


far and near, to celebrate a rural fete in honour of 
the sixteenth birthday of the only child of this an 
cient house, the beautiful Kate Bellamont, better 
known throughout the barony as " wild Kate of 
Castle Cor." In the pastimes of the day, archery, 
then much practised by ladies of gentle blood, was 
to hold a conspicuous place, and a silver arrow was 
to be awarded to the victor by the hands of Lady 
Bellamont herself. As the hour of noon approach 
ed, the earl's chief forester, Cormac Dermot, his 
gray locks covered with a red cloth bonnet, in 
which was fastened an eagle's plume, and his goodly 
person arrayed in a holyday suit of green and gold, 
made his appearance on the lawn by the west side 
of the castle, and wound his horn, loud and long, 
as the signal that the " gentle sporte of archerie" 
was now about to begin. 

The place chosen for the trial of skill was an 
ample lawn of the softest and greenest verdure, 
lying between the wall of the castle and the verge 
of the cliff. A few ancient oaks grew here and 
there upon it ; and towards the south it was open 
to the land-locked bay and far-distant sea, which, 
wide as the vision extended, seemed to belt the 
horizon like a shining band of silver. At each 
extremity of the field, one hundred yards apart, 
was pitched upon the sward a gorgeous pavilion, 
one of blue, the other of orange-coloured silk : the 
hangings of the former were fringed with silver; 
and from the festooned curtains of the latter pended 
tassels of silk and gold. In these were laid tables 
spread with cloths of crimson damask, and covered 
with every luxury that could tempt the palate 
or gratify the eye. From the summit of one of 
the pavilions fluttered a crimson banneret, display 
ing the arms of Bellamont, its boar's-head crest 
pierced through with an arrow, emblematical of the 


occasion ; and from the top of the other waved a 
white banner, in the centre of which, according to 
the rules of heraldry, a bow, quiver, target and 
other signs of archery were tastefully emblazoned. 

Twenty-five yards in front of each pavilion, two 
targets were placed, fifty yards apart, so that, after 
sending all their arrows at one, the archers might 
walk up to it and gather them, and, taking their 
stand by it, shoot back to the other ; thus alternately 
reversing the direction of their shots, and adding 
healthful exercise to their graceful pastime. The 
targets were both very beautiful, and gay with 
colours ; being round wooden shields half an inch 
in thickness and three feet in diameter, with four 
circles painted on the faces : the outer white, with 
a green border ; the next black ; the next within 
it orange ; and the inner circle red, encompassing 
a gold centre. They were elevated, at a slight 
angle, twenty inches from the ground, on a light 
frame resembling a painter's easel. 

Midway between the targets, but safely placed 
several paces back from the erratic path of the 
arrows, was erected beneath an ancient linden-tree 
a sylvan throne, surmounted by a canopy of silk, 
elaborately worked with the needle to represent 
Diana, with her nymphs and hounds, pursuing a 
herd of deer with flights of arrows. This was the 
seat of the umpire of the sports Katrine, the 
lovely Countess of Bellamont. Altogether, it was 
an imposing and gorgeous scene ; and, with its stern 
castle rising boldly from the verdant lawn topped 
with battlements and towers ; with its boundary 
on the north side, of green, dark old woods, and the 
calm, deep bay beneath, with a yacht sleeping on its 
bosom ; with its extended prospect of the illim 
itable sea for-ever breathing with a mysterious life, 
the field of archery at Castle Cor, for ihe natural 


beauty of the spot and the taste displayed in its 
adornment, has doubtless had no parallel in the 
annals of archery. 

Scarcely had the echoes of old Cormac's horn 
died away in the forest, startling many a stately 
stag to flight, when the castle poured forth its gay 
throng of archers towards the lists. In their midst 
was the Countess of Bellamont, escorted by a body 
guard of young archeresses. She was then in the 
prime and beauty of ripe womanhood : at that 
delightful age when the wife and mother, all the 
charms of mind and person fully developed and re 
fined by taste and elegant culture, fascinates by a 
thousand nameless graces, and captivates and en 
slaves even the youthful crowd that sigh at the feet 
of her lovely daughter of seventeen the age that 
leaves one in doubt whether beautiful women ar 
rive at the zenith of their beauty and power under 

This was the age of Katrine of Bellamont ; and 
though at eighteen (when she became a bride) the 
loveliest of all Irish maidens either of gentle or 
lowly birth, yet now, as the Countess of Bella 
mont, far-famed for her rare and stately beauty. 
She was arrayed in a simple white robe ; and a 
laced jacket of royal-purple velvet closely fitted 
her magnificent bust. When she entered the field 
she was conducted by her juvenile escort to the 
throne, on which she seated herself, and with a play 
fully assumed queenly dignity that became her 
highborn air. A coronet of pearls graced her brow ; 
and her symmetrical hand, that rivalled pearls in 
its soft transparency, gracefully held, like a sceptre, 
the miniature arrow which was to be the prize for 
excelling in archery. Her deep blue eyes, as she 
looked around, reflected, in a thousand smiling 
beams, the joy that danced on each youthful face, 


and the sunny light of her own countenance com 
municated sunshine of the heart wherever it fell. 

On each side of the throne stood a wellborn youth 
habited as a page, and behind her were stationed 
two beautiful young girls attired as sylphides. On 
her right hand, a few feet in the rear, leaning on a 
yew bow six feet in length, stood Cormac Dermot, 
his stag's horn, richly inlaid and curiously carved 
with woodland devices, slung beneath his left shoul 
der, with the mouthpiece brought round in front 
ready for use. A little farther beyond, and nearer 
the castle-wall, was assembled a group of lower de 
gree, consisting of under-foresters, retainers of the 
household, and neighbouring peasants ; while on 
the opposite side of the lawn might be seen, relieved 
against the sky, the forms of two or three fisher 
men, whom curiosity had led to climb the dizzy 
precipice from the beach far along the white line 
of which were visible their scattered huts, looking 
like black specks upon the sand. 

All was now animation with the preparations 
for the lists. From bundles of bows thrown by 
Dermot on the ground before each pavilion, the 
youths began busily to select weapons for the 
fair archers, who were themselves earnestly en 
gaged in choosing arrows from quivers that were 
hung on the front of the tent ; fastening braces of 
thick fawn's leather on their left or bow arm just 
above the wrist to preserve it from injury by the 
rebound of the bow-string; and drawing on the 
right hand, from parcels handed them by pages, 
shooting-gloves, with three finger-stalls, fitted with 
a strap and button to fasten at the wrist, to pro 
tect their fingers in drawing the arrow. Besides 
these appendages of archery, each archeress wore 
a belt buckled about the waist, to which pended a 
tassel of the softest floss of Brussels, to wipe away 

VOL.!, B 


the soil that adhered to the arrows when drawn 
from the ground ; and also an ivory box with a metal 
lid, containing a perfumed paste for anointing the 
finger-stalls of the shooting-gloves and the brace 
on the arm, that the bow-string might the more 
easily quit the fingers and pass over the guarded 
wrist. A small pouch, either of tortoise-shell or 
of silver, in shape and dimensions like a sportsman's 
cup or a dicebox, was suspended on the right side 
to receive two or three arrows ; the more cumber 
some quiver, while in target-shooting, being left on 
the ground near at hand, filled with shafts to re 
place those broken or lost. 

The party of archeresses consisted of seven fair 
girls, the eldest scarce seventeen. They were fanci 
fully attired, some in green, and others in orange or 
blue hunting-jackets, after the tasteful fashion of the 
period ; a costume admirably calculated to display 
their sylphan shapes. They all wore hats of the col 
our of their spencers, looped up in front, and orna 
mented with waves of snowy plumes. Long white 
trains descended from their waists to the ground, 
but, in shooting, were gathered beneath the belt on 
the left side, and, thence falling down again to the 
feet in numerous folds, added to the grace and pictu- 
resqueness of their appearance. Each archeress 
was attended by a favoured youth as an esquire, 
habited in a green or gray hunting-frock, bordered 
with a wreath of embroidered oak-leaves, with an 
arrow worked in silver thread on each lappel. 
They wore broad flapping hats, turned boldly back 
from the forehead, and shaded in front with a droop 
ing black plume. Each carried a short hunting- 
spear, decked with ribands of the colour of his mis 
tress' jacket, gifts from her own hand and tied there 
on with her own fingers, in token that she acknowl 
edged him as her " Esquire of the Bow." The duty 


of these youthful cavaliers was to select a bow suited 
to the strength of the archeress whose colours they 
wore ; to fit it with an arrow of a weight proportioned 
to its power, having a nock exactly receiving the 
string ; to assist, if the lady is unskilled, in string 
ing the bow ; to draw the arrows from the butt, or 
collect the far-shot shafts and return them to the 
owner ; and otherwise, as courtesy and gallantry 
prompted, to do their duty as " esquires of arch- 

Once more the sonorous horn of old Cormac 
was heard winding, now high, now low, in a long, 
wild strain, and then ending in three sharp blasts, 
like the stirring notes of a bugle sounding to the 
charge. Every archeress now had her brace buck 
led on her arm, and her shooting-glove buttoned 
about her wrist ; every one had two good arrows 
in the pouch at her belt, and a third on the string; 
and each fair girl, attended by her esquire, hasten 
ed to the stand by the southernmost target at the 
sound of the forester's horn save, in each instance, 
Kate Bellamont ! Her brace would not buckle all 
she could do ; her shooting-glove would not go on, 
and three, that she had pulled off, were lying rent 
at her feet ; and not an arrow was to be seen in 
her tortoise-shell pouch, though half a dozen fair 
ones lay about her on the ground ! It was very 
plain that something was going wrong with the 
maiden. Such a dilemma could not have hap 
pened without a cause. The braces of the rest 
buckled with ease ; their shooting-gloves fitted 
beautifully ; and there had been time enough to fill 
twenty pouches. Why, then, was Kate Bellamont 
not ready ? Her brace, both strap and buckle, was 
perfect ; and the wrist it was destined to compass 
was not to be matched for its smallness of size ! 
The gloves, plainly were just what they should be ! 


Her companions had been fitted, and her hand was 
the smallest as well as the fairest of the party ; 
besides, there were a dozen pairs on the ground that 
evidently were made for no other hand. The cause 
could not lie in the arrows, for they were, to the 
eye, without fault, and of every variety of shape 
and fashion known to archery ; nor in her handsome 
esquire, who, save when requested by some eager 
girl to assist her, had been diligently serving her 
with arrow after arrow, until he had emptied two 
quivers, the contents of which now lay strewn 
around. The cause is not to be found in either of 
these. The truth is, Kate Bellamont was playing 
with her little foot against the ground when sho 
should have been trying on her glove. No sooner 
was one pulled half way on than she suffered it to 
remain so, drumming the while in a fit of absence 
on the sward, while her eyes followed the motions 
of her handsome esquire. The next moment, re 
covering herself, she would tear it off impatiently, 
and, with a laugh, fling it to the ground. She would 
then take up another, and go through the same pro 
cess, or play with her brace instead of buckling it ; 
and when the young gentleman gave her an arrow, 
without scarcely touching it to the bow-string she 
threw it down, saying it was too heavy or too light, 
too long or too short, had too much feather or had 
not feather enough ; so that, when the rest of the 
party were ready, Kate Bellamont was just where 
ghe was at the outset, The result of all this, wheth 
er brought about designedly or not by a little fe* 
male manoeuvring, being a question to be solved by 
such as are skilled in the ways and means by which 
women work out their ends, was, that when the last 
notes of Cormac's horn died away in the forest, 
Kate Bellamont found herself and her esquire, the 
noble and youthful heir of the broad lands of the 


earldom of Lester, left quite alone. The brace was 
on her arm unbuckled, and she held a glove in her 

" Lord Robert, do clasp this troublesome brace 
for me. Strange you could not see what difficulty 
I have had to get ready ! But I suppose you were 
:; so engaged fitting an arrow to pretty Gracy Fitz 
gerald's bow, that you had no eyes for any one 
else !" 

This was said half in pique, half laughingly; 
and holding, with a pouting lip, her snowy arm to 
wards her esquire as she spoke, he gallantly re 
ceived it, and with the merest effort in the world 
clasped the rebellious brace. But he did not re 
lease her soft hand without giving it a slight pres 
sure, and looking into her face with an eloquent 
gaze, which she consciously met with eyes half 
downcast, yet beaming through their long dark 
lashes with a gentle fire that young love only could 
have kindled. 

" Now, Sir Esquire, fasten this glove." 

The youth bent till the black plume of his bonnet 
rested on her arm, and, with some difficulty ap 
parently, for he was a very long time about it, suc 
ceeded in buttoning the silken strap across the blue- 
veined wrist ; nor did he lift his head from the fair 
hand, which lay nestled like a bird in his beneath 
the thick covert of his drooping featker, ere he had 
touched it with his bold lip. 

" Ha, Sir Forester, is this a part of your service 
as squire of archery ?" she demanded, with the blood 
mounting to her cheek in maidenly surprise ; though 
the pouting smile on her mouth, which she vainly 
tried to turn into a frown, and the dancing light in 
her telltale eyes, betokened any thing besides resent 
ment at the bold deed ; " I see I must resign you 
to my sly little cousin Gracy, and take her well- 


behaved esquire ; doubtless you better understand 
her humour than you seem to do mine." 

By the time she had ended she had succeeded in 
calling up a small cloud on her brow, which strug 
gled very hard to cast a shadow over the sunny light 
that played around her lovely mouth and was re 
flected back in a thousand rays from the deep wells 
of her black, Castilian eyes. 

" Forgive me, sweet Lady Kate," said the esquire, 
dropping on one knee disguising his attitude to the 
eyes of others by gathering carelessly one or two 
arrows from the ground to her eyes alone a sup 
pliant. The expression of his face amusingly wa 
vered between playful mockery and seriousness, as 
if greatly fearing, yet doubting much, that his daring 
act had really given offence : a sort of neutral ground 
between mirth and grief, with the advantage of en 
abling him to fall readily into the one or the other, 
as he should find the needle of her humour pointed. 

" See, then, you offend not again, sir," she said, 
laughing at the troubled expression of his serio 
comic countenance. " Haste ! choose me an ar 
row that tapers from the pile to the feather." 

" One that tapers each way from the middle will 
suit you better for shooting in this light wind," said 
the young esquire, the puzzled play of his hand 
some features changed to sunshine by her voice. 
As he spoke he brought a quiver full of arrows and 
poured them out at her feet, and, kneeling on the 
thick verdure, selected an arrow of the kind he had 

" No, no," she said, putting it aside ; " they al 
ways curve from the line of sight ; and, besides, fly 

" Not in a wind, Kate. The fulness in the mid 
dle counteracts the weight of the ends, and drives 
it more evenly." 


" Do as you are bidden, Sir Esquire," she said. 
" Don't think now you are going to have your own 
way." A second arrow was placed in her hand 
by the youth. 

"Why, Lord Robert, what is the matter with 
your wits ! This is an arrow of the same kind ; 
and, besides, it is without a cock-feather. I shall 
have to call yonder handsome fisher's lad, who is 
watching me so admiringly, to my assistance." 

The esquire, without looking up, mechanically 
handed to her a third arrow, with the head broken 
and the feathers ruffled. Without being able to 
speak in her surprise, she looked quietly down and 
beheld the young man so intently contemplating one 
of her exquisite little feet, that twice she spoke to 
him ere he looked up to encounter her gaze of arch 
astonishment. It was very plain what had become 
of her esquire's wits. The youth blushed, and has 
tily rose to his feet ; but the maiden could not dis 
guise a little female vanity, though she shook her 
finger at him, and said mischievously, 

" Do you propose becoming a cordwainer, and 
making me a pair of slippers, Lord Robert, that you 
are so busy taking the dimensions of my foot ?" 

" I would willingly become apprentice to the 
meanest cobbler, to be suffered to take the measure 
of that tiny foot, and fit it with a shoe," said the 
youth, with gallantry. 

The maiden laughed, and, unwilling to betray 
the feeling his words had created, said, "Do be 
quick, Lord Robert ; my bow is not yet strung with 
our foolish idling here, and I shall be too late for 
the lists." 

As she spoke she grasped her bow firmly in the 
middle, and extending her hand, containing the 
string terminating with a loop, to the upper limb, 
she pulled smartly upward, pressing the limb down- 


ward at the same time with her left wrist, and skil 
fully and accurately carried the eye of the bow 
string into the nock. Her bow, like those of her 
companions, was five feet in length, neatly made of 
dark wood highly polished, and rounded on the in 
ner side to increase its power in shooting. 

" Well and featly done ! That's a tough yew, and 
a man's strength could not have better done what 
your little fingers, with skill to guide them, I have 
just seen do. You were an apt pupil, young mis 
tress, and do honour to old Dermot's lessons." 

Kate Bellamont turned and saw the old forester 
close at her side. " If I have any skill, good Cor- 
mac," she said, " I do owe it all to your kind teach 
ing ; and if I win the arrow this day, you shall have 
it as a birthday gift from me, to wear in your bon 
net instead of your pipe." 

The forester lifted his bonnet with a gratified air, 
mingled with respect, at this expression of kindness 
from his lovely young mistress, and said, 

" I know you would give Cormac, sweet lady, 
even the fair white plume that graces your brow if 
you thought it would gratify the old man. God 
bless you, noble child ; may you live to see many 
such bright birthdays as this !" The rough hunts 
man brushed a tear from his eyes as he spoke ; for 
the experience of years had told him that clouds 
would obscure the bright sky of her young hopes, 
and that each returning birthday might be but a sad 
waymark to denote the slow passage of a life of 
sorrow and trial. " The countess has bid me come 
and see if you need my aid in fitting your shafts, 
that you delay." 

"No, no, Cormac," said the maiden, blushing; 
but directly she cried, " Yes, you can help me. I 
am undecided whether to shoot an arrow that tapers 
from the head to the feathers, or from the feathers 
to the head, or from the middle both ways " 


"What says Master Robert?" asked Dermot, 
smiling archly through one of his little gray eyes, 
the other, from the long habit of shutting it in 
shooting, having at last got to be so firmly closed 
up in a radiating network of fine wrinkles as to 
have been for the last ten years of his life invis 

" Pshaw, Cormac !" she cried, stooping till her 
snowy plumes shaded her burning cheek ; " I did 
not ask Lord Robert, but you." 

" I have advised Lady Kate, forester, to shoot 
arrows that taper both to feather and pile," said the 
youth, haughtily. 

" And she chooses " 

" Those that taper from the pile to the feather," 
said the maiden, quickly 

" If the distance were seventy yards instead of 
fifty," said the forester, measuring the ground with 
his eye, " it would be a good shaft for a steady 
hand ; but, if you will let me decide, I would rec 
ommend you to take the taper from the feather, 
especially as the air is in motion." 

" Your skill is at fault for once, old man," said 
the young noble, with a flushed brow ; " the best 
bowmen in England ay, Robin Hood himself, 
were he here this day would teach you your craft 

" You are in error, Master Robert," said the for 
ester, with some warmth, in defence of his profes 
sion ; " and he who taught you that a double taper 
is better in a wind than " 

" Hist, old graybeard ! you know nothing of 
woodscraft ; yonder fisher's lad will even tell you a 
shaft swelling in the middle will waver in its pas 
sage through the wind like a weathercock." 

" Nay, Master Robert " 

" Speak again, old man, and I strike you !" said 


the young noble, imperiously, angry that his skill 
should be called in question ; feeling positive that he 
alone was right, or else too proud to acknowledge 
his conviction. 

" For shame, Lester," cried Kate Bellamont, with 
an indignant look ; " I did not think you were of so 
overbearing and ungracious a temper ! Besides," 
she added, proudly, " I sought Cormac's opinion ! 
Strike an old man, and in a lady's presence ! Out 
upon thy manhood, Robert. Ask Cormac's for 
giveness, or never speak to me more." 

" Pardon my hasty speech, Kate," he said, abash 
ed by her look, and reproached by the cutting irony 
of her words, approaching her as he spoke with an 
air of deep mortification, " forgive " 

"To Cormac, sir, not me." 

"For Cormac, in atonement, I will send from 
Castle More a fat buck, with this very arrow stick 
ing in its heart ; but," he added, with haughty 
fierceness, " I will ask no man's forgiveness. If I 
have offended, I am ready to stand by my words." 

" Marry come up ! we are like to have a letting 
of blood here," said the maiden, between jest and 
seriousness. "Will you be docile, Robert?" 

" At your bidding, Kate, as a lamb." 

" Very like a lamb. Forget it, Dermot. You 
have made his pride a little sore to tell him, before 
a lady, he knew not how to choose a shaft, and so 
unfit to be an esquire of archery." 

" Young blood will up," said the forester. " I 
meant not to gainsay your skill, Master Robert, for 
it's known to every bowman that no young hand in 
the county can send a shaft farther or surer than 
young Lord Robert of Castle More." 

" That will do, Cormac. Now, Robert, see that 
you henceforward take fire less readily ; and you, 
good Dermot, refrain from wounding the esteem of 


these young lords. Verily, it behooves me to look 
to my own speech in such fiery company. Nay, 
Robert," she added, laughing, " I have done. Give 
me the shafts ; and, as we are to have three shots 
apiece at the target, I will shoot one of each kind, 
and be the prize his whose arrow wins ! Give me 
them, Robert ! nay, don't press my fingers so hard ; 
I don't want them in my hand, but in the pouch. 
Go, Cormac, I am ready. I see my lady mother 
is shaking her silver arrow at me already for loiter 
ing here when I should be at the post." 

The next moment she had joined the archers, and 
the trial of skill forthwith commenced. The first 
arrow that was shot was from the bow of a fair- 
haired girl, in a blue hat and a silken bodice of the 
same colour ; it flew wide of the mark, and quivered 
in the trunk of a tree sixty yards off. 

" There was nerve in that, Lady Eustace," said 
old Cormac, who watched each shot with profes 
sional interest ; " but you grasped the handle of your 
bow too tightly, and so made your aim unsteady. 
Hold your bow as lightly as you would a hunting- 
whip. 'Tis not strength, but skill, that sends the 
bolt into the eye of the butt." 

The young archeress laughed at her failure, and 
resigned her place to another, who was distinguish 
ed by an orange-coloured spencer. This second 
shot was more successful ; for, swiftly cleaving the 
air, the arrow stuck in the orange circle. 

" Bravo ! orange to orange !" was the cry that 
on all sides hailed this appropriate hit. 

The third shaft was still better directed; and, 
hitting the red or inner circle, stuck there for a 
moment trembling like an aspen-leaf, and then fell 
to the ground. 

" A brave bolt that ! a brave bolt that," said the 
forester, " and drawn well to the head. But you 


should have brought the nock of your arrow down 
more towards your ear. The ear in shooting an 
arrow; the eye in firing a pistol or harquebuss. 
That shaft was a taper from the feather, Master 

" Hush, Cormac," cried Kate Bellamont, quick 
ly ; " would you get your gray beard into a broil. 
Kobert, bring me my quiver," she said, as she saw 
the young man's eye light up ; " one of my arrows, 
the very one you gave me, has the cock-feather 
awry ! Stay ! you need not bring the quiver, but 
select a shaft for me yourself. I will keep it as my 
forlorn hope, and mark me if it do not carry off the 
prize." She sought his eyes and looked so be- 
witchingly after a manner maidens have of their 
own, that his brow coloured and his eyes beamed 
with a different emotion, while, with a fluttering 
heart, he went to do her bidding. 

Oh, gentle and angelic woman ! ever ready to 
calm the ruffled brow with words of peace ! to bring 
good out of evil ! to step between fierce man and 
his reinless passions ! with an eye to sooth, a 
voice to disarm, a smile to win ! Blessings on 
thee, woman ! whether in thy happy and innocent 
girlhood, or fair and gentle maidenhood ; whether 
maid or matron, young or old, lovely or homely ! 
Blessings on thee, sweet leaven of humanity ! yet 
partaking so much of the heavenly nature, that 
the sons of the gods, we are told, were lured from 
their celestial thrones to cast their crowns at thy 

' A fourth arrow hit the black circle ; and the 
fifth, sent from the bow of a tall, graceful girl, struck 
on the outer edge of the target and splintered it, 
while the bow itself snapped in two in her hand. 

" What a mischievous shot, Fanny," cried Lady 
Bellamont, smiling ; " if by-and-by you launch Cu- 


pid's shafts at your lovers' hearts in that way, you 
will make sad havoc." 

" It was all, your ladyship, of placing the short 
limb of the bow uppermost. Hugh Conor must be 
getting old that he teacheth not his pupil better 
to handle the bow," said old Cormac, shaking his 
snowy locks as the next archeress, a sylph-like lit 
tle being, about fifteen, with dangerous hazel eyes ; 
rich chestnut-coloured hair, that flowed in curls all 
over her shoulders ; a voice like some merry bird's, 
and a wild, joyous spirit lighting up like a sun 
beam her whole countenance, took her place at the 

"Now, cousin Gracy, do be steady !" cried Kate 
Bellamont ; " take heed ! you will shoot my esquire 
through the heart if you handle your bow so care 

" And then you would shoot me through the 
head in return, I dare say." 

The laughing girl bounded to the stand as she 
spoke, carelessly drew her arrow to the head, and, 
ere she had well taken aim, away it flew, and passed 
through the centre of the emblazoned target waving 
on the summit of the pavilion, and continued its 
wild flight into the wood beyond. 

" Bravo, cousin Gracy ! you have won the silver 
arrow," cried Kate Bellamont. " Lord Robert, I 
wonder if that was the arrow you chose for Lady 
Grace. A taper both ways, or .I'll forfeit my jen 
net !" 

" Who makes the broil now, young mistress ?" 
asked the old forester, with a glance of humour. 

" You and I, worthy Cormac, are two very dif 
ferent people where a young gentleman is con 
cerned," said the maiden, laughing. 

The forester shook his head incredulously, and, 
turning to Grace Fitzgerald, said, " Faith, but it was 

VOL. I. C 


a brave shot that, my young lady ! You have done 
what old Dermot could not have done at a target, 
playing in the wind like that. But, with the leave 
of my lady the queen, you must have a second 
shot at the real target. Take this arrow, that tapers 
from the feather to the pile ; fit it to your bow 
string exactly at the spot where it is wound round 
with silk ; and, if you will follow my directions, I 
will teach you to strike the centre of the true butt, 
or never draw arrow to head again." Leave being 
granted by acclamation, the archeress merrily re 
sumed her attitude and prepared to follow his in 

" Hold the bow easily in your hand. Throw 
your head back a little. That will do. Now keep 
your bow-arm straightened, and bend the wrist of 
your gloved hand inward. Now raise your bow, 
steadily drawing the arrow at the same time not to 
wards your eye, but towards your ear. Be steady ! 
When it is three parts drawn, take your aim at the 
centre. Keep the head of the arrow a little to the 
right of the mark. Be cool, and, if you are sure of 
your aim, draw the arrow quickly and steadily to 
the head, and gently part your fingers and let it go !" 

The shaft, loosened from the string, cut the air 
and buried itself in the very centre of the golden 
eye of the target. A shout from every part of the 
field acknowledged the success of the quick pupil, 
and bore testimony to the skill of the experienced 
old archer. 

" It is Cormac's shot, not mine," said the archer- 
ess ; " I am satisfied with piercing the glittering 
centre of yonder escutcheon." 

" The queen shall decide," cried several of the 
party, turning towards the throne where sat the 
lovely countess, amid her youthful attendants, par 
ticipating with girlish interest in the scene, and 


prepared to decide all appeals to her royal um- 

" Gracy is right. Corrnac's skill directed the 
shaft. She has no honest claim to the honour of 
the hit, save the credit of having stood quiet longer 
than she was ever known to before ! The banner 
with its perforated target she is justly entitled to; 
and," added the countess, with a smile, "I here 
award it to her." 

" And if I ever get a husband he shall carry it 
before him into battle," said the merry sylph. 
" Now, divine Kate, see that you don't wound my 
arrow. I would not have it injured for a silver one." 

" It tapers from the middle in each direction, I 
have no doubt," said Kate, archly, glancing mis 
chievously towards her esquire as she prepared to 
take her place at the stand. 

"Your speech tapers in both directions, wild 
Kate," retorted the other, blushing. " I wonder 
what you and Lord Robert could have been doing, 
that you loitered so long about the pavilion ! There, 
I declare, if you are not holding your bow with the 
short limb uppermost !" 

Kate blushed in her turn, and reversed it. 

"Why, cousin Kate Bellamont, you are going 
to shoot with the feather towards the target !" cried 
the tantalizing little maiden. " Really, I do begin 
to wonder what you and Lester could have been 
about, that the mention of it scatters your wits and 
makes you look so very foolish !" 

Kate shook her head with a playful menace at 
her tormentor, placed her arrow with the right end 
to the bow-string, and took her stand by the target. 
The instant she fixed her eyes on it her self-pos 
session returned, and, elevating her bow, she threw 
herself with careless grace into the attitude of an 
accomplished archeress. 


A more beautiful object than this young creature, 
standing in the strikingly spirited attitude she had 
assumed, can hardly be imagined. Though but 
sixteen, her form was divinely perfect. Every 
limb foot, hand, and arm was a rare model for 
the sculptor's chisel. The undulating outline of 
her shoulders was faultless ; and her figure, per 
haps, was the more beautiful that her bust and 
waist, and the wavy symmetry of her whole per 
son, was just receiving that harmony of touch 
and roundness of finish which marks the era when 
the wild romping girl is merging into the blushing, 
conscious, loving, and loveable maiden of seven 
teen. Descended from an ancient Milesian family, 
she betrayed her origin in her complexion, which 
was a rich brunette, reflecting in warm, sunny tints 
the mantling blood, which came and went at every 
emotion. Her eyes were dark and sparkling as 
night with its stars, and as, with a slightly bent 
brow, she fixed them on the target, they had a cool 
and steady expression remarkable in one of her 
years and sex. She wore a dark ruby velvet jacket, 
laced over a stomacher rich with brilliants, and a 
velvet hat of the same dark ruby, surmounted by a 
plume of white ostrich feathers, in that day a rare 
and costly ornament, which gracefully drooped 
about her head in striking contrast with her raven 
locks that floated around her superb neck in the 
wildest freedom. Her lips, like most of the lips of 
Erin's fair maidens, were of a rich coral red, and, 
just parted as she took sight, rendered visible a 
pearly line of beautifully-arranged teeth. Her 
mouth, when closed, was finely shaped, and some 
times wore an air of decision, that did not, however, 
in any way diminish its witchery. The glow of 
health, and the pride of birth and beauty, were upon 
her countenance, and every feminine grace and 
charm seemed to play around her. 


As she stood with one foot a little advanced, her 
neck slightly curved to bring her eyes down to a 
level with the mark, her left side, but no part of 
the front of the body, accurately turned towards the 
target, the eyes of old Corrnac Dermot glistened 
with pride. Slowly she elevated the bow, drawing 
the arrow simultaneously towards the ear with the 
first three gloved fingers of her right hand, till she 
had drawn it out three quarters of its length, when, 
pausing till she had filled her eye with the golden 
eye of the target, she drew it smartly to its head 
and let it loose from her fingers. For an instant 
she stood following its swift flight : the pupils of 
her dark eyes dilated and eager ; her lips closely 
shut ; her chest advanced ; her right arm elevated 
and curved above her shoulders, the wrist bent, and 
the fingers of the hand turned gently downward ; 
the left arm extended at full length, and grasping 
the relaxed bow ; her neck curved ; her spirited 
head thrown back, and her whole action animated 
and commanding ; presenting altogether, perhaps, 
the most graceful attitude the female form is sus 
ceptible of assuming. 

The arrow was sent with unerring aim, struck 
the golden eye within half an inch of Grace Fitz 
gerald's, and buried itself to its feather. The lawn 
rung with the plaudits of both archeresses and 
esquires ; and even the retainers and fishermen, 
who were humble but curious spectators of the 
sports, gave vent to their admiration in shouts of 
clamorous applause. Old Cormac swung his long 
yew bow above his head with delight, and looked 
as if, in the pride of the moment, he would have 
hugged his accomplished pupil to his heart. 

" Do not be so elated, good Dermot," she said, 
laughing ; " it was the arrow I chose a taper from 
the pile." 



" The more skill in the hand that drove it so 
truly," said the forester. 

" I must do still better than this, else neither you 
nor Lord Robert, who, methinks, looks somewhat 
blank to find I have not missed to gratify him, will 
neither of you get the prize." 

" It was not a fair trial, Kate," said the esquire, 
gayly; "the wind has lulled; and, as you drew 
your bow, there was not a breath of air." 

" If, nevertheless, that had been a taper from the 
feather," said the forester, after surveying the target 
earnestly for a moment, as obstinately bent on ad 
hering to his original opinion as even the spirited 
young noble himself, "it would have cleft the ar 
row. of Lady Gracy through its length to the pile." 

" We will see to that anon, worthy Cormac. I 
have two shots more. Here is the arrow you 
chose for me, which I will fit to my bow-string, and 
do my best to drive it through my cousin's." 

" I dare say you will if you can, and would like, 
also, to destroy everything else Lord Robert gives 
me," said the roguish Grace, putting up her lip and 
tossing her head, with its cloud of rich hair, in 
admirably affected pique. 

The young esquire of Kate Bellamont looked 
embarrassed ; Kate laughed and drummed on the 
ground with her foot, while the whole party began 
forthwith to prepare for the next round. The cus 
tomary mode of ascertaining the value of the hits 
in archery, by estimating it in proportion to their 
distance from the centre, was departed from in the 
present instance. By the method alluded to, a hit 
in the gold counts nine ; in the red, three ; in the 
orange, two ; in the black, one ; and their sum is 
the value of the hits : a process which makes three 
hits in the red circle of the same value, or nearly 
so, of one in the gold. In the present case, the 


shots were limited to three, and the prize awarded 
to the greatest number of hits in the gold. 

In the second round, the first three arrows struck 
three different circles ; and one well-directed shaft, 
shot by the archeress who had before broken her 
bow, hit the gold, though at its junction with the 
red. Grace Fitzgerald bent her bow without aim, 
but the courteous arrow went accurately to the 
mark, and struck within a finger's breadth of the 
centre, much to the delight of Cormac, the forester, 
who took himself all the credit of the fair shot. 
Kate, with the arrow given her by Cormac fitted 
to her bow-string, took somewhat less careful aim 
than with her first shot, and was about to loose the 
arrow, when a hawk, bearing a live fish in his tal 
ons, soared above the cliff, and with swift wing 
flew high across the lawn in the direction of the 
forest. Quicker than thought, the point of the ar 
row was elevated from the target into the air, 
drawn to its head with a stronger arm and more 
resolute eye, and launched from the bow-string. 
With irresistible force and unerring aim, it cleft 
the air and struck the proud bird of prey beneath 
the wing. He uttered a wild cry, flew heavily a 
few feet perpendicularly upward, and then, whirling 
round and round in concentric circles, each gyration 
bringing him nearer the earth, fell, transfixed with 
the arrow, among the fishermen : fluttering wildly 
on the ground in agony, he succeeded, before they 
could secure him, in flapping himself over the 
precipice. He was instantly followed by a daring 
young fisherman, who had been endeavouring to 
capture him the same youth whose admiration of 
her had before attracted the notice of Kate Bella- 

For a moment the generous heart of the fair 
archer shrunk from the wreck she had made, and 


she turned away her head from the dying struggles 
of the dark bandit of the air. But maidens of that 
period were too familiar with the more revolting 
scenes of the chase to show emotion at witnessing 
the death of a hawk ; and, therefore, sympathy for 
the fate of the victim of her skill gave place to the 
pride of the successful archer. 

"There is a prize for you, Cormac, better than 
a golden arrow," she said, with a flashing eye ; 
" and, when next I go a hawking," she archly added, 
" I will be sure to use arrows that taper from the 

The third and final round now followed. Each 
archeress had shot her last arrow save Kate Bel- 
lamont, yet but three arrows besides her own and 
the equivocal shot of Grace Fitzgerald were in the 
centre, and these from as many different bows. 
Grace had made a wilder shot even than her first; 
for her arrow, jeopardizing the lives of the poor fish 
ermen, flew far over the cliff out of sight. Four of 
the companions of Kate had, equally with herself, 
each an arrow in the gold ; but as she had yet to 
shoot her third arrow, she had yet a chance of 
making a second hit and winning the prize. Glan 
cing with proud consciousness of her own skill 
towards her young esquire, she drew her remain 
ing arrow through her fingers, carefully examining 
each one of its three feathers, and fitted it accu 
rately to the bow-string ; then elevating her bow, 
she steadily drew the arrow. All was breathless 
expectation. The old archer looked on as if he 
would not grievp if for once his pupil should miss ; 
while her young esquire watched her with the anx 
iety of one who felt that his judgment and skill in 
the noble science of archery were at stake. As 
she was ready to loose the arrow, the wind, which 
had hitherto gently fanned her cheek, increased 
suddenly to a strong breeze, lifting the hair from 


her brow and tossing her tresses in wild confusion 
about her neck. The eyes of Cormac lighted up 
with triumph, while Lord Robert himself curled 
his lip scornfully and smiled with confidence. The 
archeress, who had dropped the point of the arrow 
with a misgiving, remembering what Cormac had 
said of it as ill adapted to a wind, on catching the 
confident eye of her esquire again raised the bow, 
and coolly and steadily drew the shaft to its head. 
Every eye followed it in its swift course, and saw 
it strike the arrow of Grace Fitzgerald on the end, 
shiver it to its pile, and drive itself through the 
target to the feather. A general exclamation of 
surprise and admiration bore testimony to the skill 
of the victor ; the dark eyes of the young esquire 
sparkled with triumph, while the discomfited Der- 
mot said, with a broad laugh of good-humour, 

"Well, Master Robert, it's your time to boast 
now. By the boar's head o' Castle Cor! I shall 
never hear the end of your double taper. Faith, 
masters, no hand but my young Lady Kate's could 
have sent a double taper with such an aim and in 
this wind, which young Lord Robert there has got 
old Elpsy to set a blowing to triumph over the old 
man's skill. Well a-day ! What the gray-headed 
forester said of it is true, nevertheless ; but when 
such a hand and eye as Lady Kate's sends the 
bolt to the butt, there is no depending on old rules ; 
especially," he added, laughing, "with a witch's 
wind to carry the arrow to its centre." 

The young noble frowned darkly on the speaker, 
and joined not in the laugh of his companions. 
Lady Bellamont now commanded Cormac to sound 
his horn three times, and bid, in the name of the 
queen of archery, the band of archeresses, with their 
esquires, who were hastening towards the target to 


collect their arrows, to approach the throne, and 
witness the award of the prize to the victor. 

Amid the congratulations and applauses of the 
whole field, for, unenvious, each light-hearted girl 
seemed to share the triumph of the accomplished 
archeress, the victoress advanced to the rustic foot 
stool of the throne, and gracefully knelt to receive, 
from the hand of the beautiful queen of the sports, 
the glittering prize a finely-wrought arrow of sil 
ver, five inches in lengh, with a chased gold head, 
on which was graven, in small Gothic characters, 
these words : 

" JFfeia of SlrcDerj, Castle <Eor, $Hzs, 


" Victorious archeress," said the queen, rising, 
her face beaming with maternal love and pride, and 
extending her arm containing the prize, "receive 
this fair token of your matchless skill, so well dis 
played this day. May you in every other female 
accomplishment, my sweet Kate, be as successful 
as in archery." 

" She'll be a match for poor little Cupid, with 
his tiny bow and arrow, I dare say," said Grace 
Fitzgerald, with a roguish eye. " Poor youth !" 
she continued, glancing significantly towards the 
handsome Lord Robert, who stood at the right hand 
of the victress, " I pity him if he's like to have such 
a hole made in his heart as Kate has made in 
yonder target." 

This sally of the sprightly maiden was merrily 
received by all the youthful circle save the con 
scious two who were its subjects. The lovely 
countess now left the throne, embraced and kissed 
her noble Kate, whom her companions, gathering 
around her, playfully forced into the vacant seat. 
She was about to bound from it again, when she 


checked the impulse, reseated herself, and bade her 
esquire advance and kneel before her. The gallant 
youth obeyed ; when, bending gracefully forward, 
she fastened the silver arrow in the loop of his 
bonnet, and bade him wear it on every return of 
that day in memory of the field of archery at Castle 

The noble youth accepted the gift, won by the 
arrow he had chosen, with the same playful, half- 
serious spirit in which it was bestowed, and then 
kissed the fair hand that presented it with at least 
full as much passion as gallantry. Amid the merry 
sallies, especially from Grace Fitzgerald, this scene 
created, the whole party of archers bounded away 
like a troop of wild deer towards the target, to 
ascertain more accurately the nature, of the several 
hits, while the countess, at a more dignified pace, 
attended by the forester, returned to the castle to 
prepare for the further entertainments of the day. 
But the fleetest of foot among the youthful bevy of 
fair girls had not measured half the green space 
between the linden-tree and bristling target, when 
a thrilling outcry of terror from a fisherman on the 
cliff, who wildly waved his arms to some one below, 
and the next moment clasped his hands together in 
despair, checked them in mid career; and, with 
hearts palpitating with vague apprehensions of 
danger, they flew to the precipice to ascertain the 
cause of this sudden alarm. 




" From crag to crag descending swiftly sped 
Stern Conrad down, nor once he turned his head ; 
He bounds, he flies, until his footsteps reach 
The verge where ends the cliff, begins the beach." 

The Cortair. 

" Dark was the flow of Oscar's hair, 
But Allan's locks were bright and fair." 

Oscar of Alva. 

" But who is he, whose darken'd brow 
Glooms in the midst of general mirth ?" 


WHEN the hawk, which had been so skilfully 
struck by the arrow of Kate Bellamont, flapped 
himself, in his violent death-throes, over the edge 
of the cliff, a gallant young fisher's lad, seeing him 
lodge in the topmost branches of a blasted tree 
twenty feet below, fearlessly flung himself off the 
precipice, and lighted, by the aid of a limb, on 
a projecting rock within twelve feet of him. The 
cliff at this place was one hundred and forty feet 
in height, and, except where its surface was opened 
by narrow crevices, in which a few shrubs and 
dwarf cedars found precarious roothold, or where 
a fragment, hurled from its seat by the lightning, 
or fallen through age into the sea, left a narrow 
shelf, it presented to the passing boatman on the 
bay below a naked and gigantic wall, of nearly 
perpendicular ascent and inaccessible to human 
foot: indeed, from a midway brow seventy feet 
from the base, it receded, leaving a sheer descent 
of that space from the water, which lay black, still, 
and of profound depth beneath. Near the top of 
the cliff grew a scathed cedar, clinging with its 
hardy roots into a cleft in its face, and leaning 



threateningly over the flood. Its top reached within 
twenty feet of the summit of the precipice ; but, in 
clining at an angle away from it, stood full seven 
feet out from its side. It was the ragged arms of 
this tree which caught the hawk in his descent, 
and where, with fierce cries of rage and pain, he 
struggled to free himself from the fatal shaft, but 
which he drove deeper and deeper into his side 
with every beat of his strong wing. 

The young man paused after lighting upon the 
first landing-place, and measured with a cool glance 
the dizzy descent ; and then fixed his gaze on the 
bird, whose blood-red eyes flashed forth vindictive 
fire as they met his, with a resolute look that con 
veyed a determination to capture him at whatever 
risk. The pliant limb of a tree growing on the 
summit, by which he had let himself down to the 
place where he stood, had, on being released, sprung 
back to its natural position far beyond his reach : 
the surface of rock, eight feet in height above him, 
was as even as a wall of masonry ; and an upward 
glance satisfied him that, without assistance from 
those above, to reascend again would be impossible. 
Quietly smiling at the difficulty in which he had 
involved himself, the fearless lad placed his eyes 
again on the hawk with the confident and resolute, 
and almost stern, expression they had before borne, 
and began to examine narrowly his position, and to 
look about for some safe way of descending to a 
perilous spur, the breadth of a man's two hands, 
which, on peering down, he discovered projecting 
from the side of the rock on a level with the top of 
the tree. Whether governed solely by that pride 
of spirit which is found in most youths of high- 
toned feelings, he internally resolved to accomplish 
what he had thoughtlessly undertaken ; whether 
actuated by the spirit of adventure, or whether 

VOL. I. D 


fascinated by the beauty of Kate Bellamor.*', he 
wished to preserve the proud bird as a trophy of 
her skill ; whether one or all of these motives in 
fluenced the daring fisher's lad, remains to be un 

The spot on which he stood was the projecting 
edge of the second stratum of rock, twenty inches 
wide, running irregularly along the face of the preci 
pice, and appeared to have been formed by the fall 
ing away of large chips or flakes from the upper and 
softer stratum. From this rim there ran a zigzag 
crevice, an inch wide, obliquely downward along 
the rock to the shelf below, on which grew a hand 
ful of long grass and two or three slender shrubs. 
On a level with it was the top of the tree ; under 
neath, thirty feet below, were visible its gnarled 
roots clinging to a mere lip of the rock, yet vig 
orously inserting themselves in the neighbouring 
crevices ; farther down, on the edge of the brow 
where the cliff began to incline inward, was visible 
yet one more foothold, scarcely a palm in breadth ; 
below that, the shrinking eye measured a dizzy 
vacancy till it fell upon the still, pool-like bay be 

The youth surveyed these features of the danger 
ous precipice with a steady eye ; and having coolly 
calculated his chance of accomplishing safely the 
descent of the twelve feet below him, sat down 
with his legs hanging over, and deliberately drew 
off his stout fisher's boots and hung them on a twig 
beside him. Then turning round, he carefully slid 
off and suspended his body an instant by his right 
hand, till he had firmly inserted the tip of one foot 
and the fingers of the other hand in the zigzag 
crevice. Releasing his right hand from its grasp 
on the shelf, he then carried it below the left, and 
having got a firm hold of the edge of the fissure, 


let go with the left and passed it in its turn under 
the right : he changed the position of his feet in 
the same manner so long as he could obtain, which 
was not always the case, a resting-place for his 
toes ; and in this way, with cool self-possession 
and undaunted nerve, which even the wild cries 
and beating wings of the bird could not move, he 
succeeded in safely reaching the small projecting 
leaf, and stood on a level with the top of the tree. 
The falcon was now within seven feet of him hori 
zontally ; but he seemed as far from the attain 
ment of his object as before. It was impossible to 
spring into the tree, even if its roots should not be 
torn from their rocky bed by the force of the leap and 
his weight. But the young fisherman possessed 
a temper that never yielded to obstacles, and seem 
ed to be governed by a spirit that scorned defeat. 
Stretching himself out upon the shelf, which was 
just broad enough to contain his body lying side 
ways to the face of the rock, he looked down, and 
saw within reach of his arm a stout root, the 
strength of which he tested ; and below this, within 
reach of his feet if he should swing himself off, 
was a sharp projection scarce the size of his foot ; 
and a few inches below that, a stout limb of the 
tree rested against the precipice. His eye em 
braced at once these advantages, and he did not 
hesitate to avail himself of them. 

Lightly, but yet with care, he committed his 
weight to the root, and, hanging at the full length 
of his arm, reached, after three unsuccessful trials, 
the spur below with the tip end of one of his toes. 
This, to one like him, was a sufficient hold to au 
thorize him to release his grasp above. Lying, like 
a fly upon a wall, close against the side of the rock, 
he now fearlessly yet cautiously let go his hold, and 
stood with one foot on the projection, with no other 


support but his muscular adhesion to the wide wall 
of the precipice. This was a situation attended 
with the most imminent peril ; and by the firmly- 
closed lips and the almost stern expression of hi-s 
eyes, it was clear that he was fully conscious of 
his dangerous position. But there was no shrink 
ing, no pallor, no sign of fear ! He was equal to 
the danger he had braved ; and, as this increased, 
the powers of his mind and body seemed to expand 
to compass it. 

The branch of the tree was within a few inches 
of the point on which his foot rested. Slowly and 
cautiously he dropped his unsupported leg, while he 
pressed his cheek and shoulder close against the 
side of the cliff; for he knew that the slightest de 
viation from the equilibrium would be fatal. His 
foot at length touched the horizontal limb, which 
was the thickness of a man's arm where it met 
the rock. He repeatedly pressed upon it, each 
successive time harder and heavier, until he found 
that it would bear his whole weight. Then di 
recting his hand carefully downward towards his 
feet, he placed it on the point of rock, removing his 
foot at the same instant to make room for it, and 
stood upright and with confidence on the limb. 

Satisfied that the branch, which, turned back 
by the cliff, had forced the tree to lean over the 
water, would safely sustain him, he now glanced 
down to the foot of the tree, and began to inspect 
the hold of the trunk upon the shelf from which it 
grew. The examination afforded him no very 
great assurance ; nevertheless, he determined to 
test its strength by advancing out on the limb, 
though aware that, if it should yield to his weight, 
he would be hurled with it into the sea. Even 
this reflection did not present any weighty objection 
to his making the trial ; for with a fearless reck- 


ksssness, for which there is no sufficient term in 
language, he half anticipated the possibility of such 
a catastrophe, and caught himself calculating the 
chances in favour of his taking in safety a flight 
into the deep pool beneath. Letting go his grasp 
on the point of rock, he now settled himself astride 
the branch, and made gradual approaches towards 
the trunk. It remained firm as the rock in which 
it was imbedded, and scarcely gave signs of feel 
ing his weight till he touched the body, when the 
top slightly vibrated. He paused ; but, finding it 
still remain fast, rose to his feet and clasped the 
scathed trunk, at first lightly, and then more firmly ; 
and at last, gaining confidence, he shook it till the 
hawk fluttered anew in its perch. Assured of its se 
curity, his lips unclosed, and his eyes lost their se 
verity, and with a smile of success he cast them tri 
umphantly upward, where, but a few feet above 
him, entangled by the long shaft of the arrow and 
his broken wing, he saw the falcon secured in the 
crotch formed by a fork of three stumps of limbs 
(all that decay had left) that terminated its summit. 
Without hesitation he began to climb the trunk, 
which, save the limb by which he had reached 
it, and the branches crowning it, was bare from 
its roots upward. This was the least difficult part 
of his hazardous enterprise, and he soon got within 
reach of the bird, and stretched one arm forth to 
seize him by the wing. But the fierce animal, who 
had for a few moments ceased his struggles to 
watch, with a quick and guarded glance, the move 
ments of the young fisherman, no sooner saw this 
hostile demonstration on the part of his human foe, 
than, with an intelligence supernaturally called forth 
by existing suffering and anticipated danger, he 
struck at him fiercely with his sharp, glittering tal 
ons ; while, stretching downward his head to the 


full extent of his neck, he uttered long, wild cries 
of mingled fear and menace. Nothing daunted by 
what, in itself, was sufficiently appalling, the young 
man coolly watched his opportunity, and, at the ex 
pense of several severe wounds in the wrist from 
his talons, caught the hawk by the throat. Cling 
ing round a limb with the disengaged arm, he raised 
himself higher in the tree, and lifting his prize, 
which still struck at him with his armed feet, he 
skilfully extricated the wing and arrow from the 
crotch : the next instant, with the huge, fluttering 
bird in his hand, he had slidden down the trunk, 
and was standing on the transverse limb with a 
flushed brow, and a triumphant look illuminating 
his handsome and fearless countenance. 

With one arm bent around the, tree, and the other 
holding the hawk at full length, he now began to 
cast his eyes upward. They travelled over the bare 
surface, scarcely without lighting upon a resting- 
place for a squirrel ; and he began, for the first 
time, to question the possibility of reascending ; it 
having been comparatively easy for him to let his 
body down by the orevice, as he had descended, 
while it would be impracticable for him to lift its 
whole weight up again by the mere effort of the fin 
gers. A glance demonstrated this to him at once. 
But time was not given him to reflect on a plan for 
surmounting a difficulty which, in reality, was insur 
mountable, his faculties being at once called into ac 
tion to save himself from being thrown from this 
dizzy perch by the struggles of the hawk. This fe 
rocious creature had been wounded by the arrow in 
the side just beneath the wing, which was broken by 
the fall to the earth, and, thence passing upward, the 
barb had come out through his back, without touch 
ing any vital part. His strength was, therefore, 
.through pain, rather augmented than diminished ; 


and notwithstanding the manual pressure upon his 
windpipe, he now began to battle fiercely with his 
captor, fighting both with his claws and remaining 
wing. Though holding him out at arm's length, 
the young man was unable wholly to defend him 
self from the sirong blows of the wing, which was 
three feet in length, with which he violently as 
sailed him about the head, while with his talons 
he succeeded in striking his person and inflicting a 
deep wound in his breast. He for a time coolly 
bore the heavy sweeps of the wing, hoping he 
would soon tire ; but he forgot that his terrible 
antagonist was " the bird of tireless wing ;" and, 
at length, finding his own strength beginning to 
fail, though his spirit was unsubdued, he loosened 
his hold from the trunk of the tree which his 
arm had hitherto encircled, and, leaning his back 
against it, watched his opportunity, and suddenly, 
with a firm grasp, seized the wing as it was 
beating against his temples, and, by a sudden and 
skilful turn of his wrist, dislocated it. This bold 
act nearly destroyed his equilibrium ; and, after its 
successful accomplishment, he just had time to 
recover his hold on the tree to save himself from 
falling into the dark wave below. For a moment 
afterward his heart throbbed tumultuously ; and re 
flecting on the imminent peril he had incurred by 
this necessary exposure, he trembled with emotion 
and several times breathed heavily, as if to relieve 
his breast of a weight of suffocating sensations 
the tribute which nature demanded of humanity. 

Goaded to increased rage by the additional pain, 
and maddened at his vain efforts to lift his useless 
wing, the eyes of the hawk glittered in his head 
like a snake's, and, opening his red jaws, he thrust 
forth his long, narrow tongue, and hissed at his cap 
tor like an angry serpent. It was a moment that 


called for all the moral energy and physical nerve 
man is capable of exercising in the hour of danger. 
The extraordinary young fisherman evinced the 
possession of these qualities in a degree adequate 
to the crisis which called them into action. With 
his eyes fixed unflinchingly on the burning eyeballs 
of the hawk, and calmly indifferent the while to 
the terrible hisses which came hot from his throat 
and fell warm upon his face, he continued to keep 
him at bay so that his talons should not reach his 
person, and put forth all his strength to strangle him. 
There was a moral grandeur in the spectacle this 
young fisher's lad presented, fearlessly perched on 
his fearful eminence, as regardless of the depth be 
low as if standing in his own cottage door, battling 
at such odds with the fiercest warrior of the air ! 

It was at this crisis that one of the fisher 
men, a very old man, whose attention, with that 
of his companions, had been hitherto too much 
occupied by the trial at archery to give a thought 
to the youth, after having remained to see the prize 
awarded to the victress, turned to leave the ground, 
when missing the young man, he recollected that 
he had seen him follow the hawk to the verge of 
the cliff. Calling him by name and not receiving 
any reply, he approached the precipice ; but finding 
that he was on the most perpendicular part of it, he 
cast only a hasty glance down, and was about to turn 
away, supposing he had, unseen, descended to the 
beach by the usual route a little farther to the 
north, when a movement far below arrested his 
eyes. Looking steadily, he beheld the youth with 
one arm clasped round the tree, and the other 
stretched out, holding the bird by the neck, while 
all his moral and physical energies were called 
into action to enable him to defend himself against 
the talons of the savage creature. 



A glance conveyed to the fisherman the whole 
extent of the danger ; and, after looking down upon 
him for a moment in speechless horror, his limbs 
trembled with fear, and, giving utterance to a wild 
cry, he would have fallen from the precipice had 
he not caught by a tree that hung over its verge. 
Kate Bellamont was the first to reach the cliff on 
hearing the alarm given by the old man ; and, glan 
cing down, she intuitively comprehended the peril 
in which the youth had placed himself. With 
wonderful presence of mind, waving her hand back 
to those advancing, she said with energy, 

" Hold ! all of ye ! Breathe not a word ! He 
is in mortal danger ! A shriek, or a sign of fear 
among us may unnerve his bold spirit and be fatal 
to him !" 

Several of the young archeresses stopped sud 
denly, and turned pale at this intimation of danger; 
while one or two, with more sensibility of nerves, 
unable to control their fears, turned and fled to 
wards the castle, as if in the retirement of their 
closets they would shut out all sense of the threat 
ened evil. Young Lord Robert was the first by 
Kate Bellamont's side. 

" By Heaven ! a bold peasant !" he said, his 
eyes sparkling with admiration; "but " 

" Lester, this is no time for words," spoke the 
maiden, quickly. " Something must be done for 
him. How could he have got there in safety ! 
Poor, rash youth !" 

" Alas ! my child, my lost, lost child !" cried the 
old fisherman, who was seated on the ground sha 
king his head mournfully, turning his eyes away 
from the trying scene. " God protect thee, lad, 
for no human aid will avail thee !" 

"Do not despair, good Dennis, he may yet be 
saved," said Kate, encouragingly. 


" Let go the bird !" shouted Lester. 

The fisher's lad, whose attention had been called 
to the top of the cliff by the shout of the old man, 
and who had watched the movements of those 
above, smiled proudly at this request, and firmly 
shook his head in the negative. 

" He deserves to perish if he will peril his life 
for that bird," said the young noble. 

" Hush, Lester, he must be aided. Mark, drop 
the bird, or he will throw you off. How could you 
be so foolish as to adventure your life for that fierce 
hawk !" 

"There is humble gallantry at the bottom of 
it, I dare swear," said Lester, with a tone in which 
there was a slight shade of scorn. 

" Perhaps there may be !" was the quiet reply 
of the maiden. " Mark, let the bird go, I command 
you. If your life is sacrificed, I shall feel that I am 
the cause of it." 

" By the bow of Dan Cupid ! I would change 
places with the serf to have my situation create 
such an interest in your breast, fair lady." This 
was spoken, partly with sincere feeling, partly with 
derision, by the haughty Lester. 

The full, dark gaze of Kate Bellamont encoun 
tered his ; and with a manner that eloquently con 
veyed the feeling of contempt that sprang up in her 
heart, she said, 

" Robert Lester must have fallen low in his own 
self-esteem to be jealous of a fisher's lad !" 

The young noble, with all his native haughti 
ness and pride of spirit, possessed a generous nature, 
and was ever ready to atone for the wounds which 
his wayward temper might have caused him una 
wares to inflict. Especially was this the case where 
Kate Bellamont was the party interested. With 
an instantaneous change peculiar to hasty spirits, 


he sought pardon of the offended maiden with his 
eyes, and at once appeared so different, that she 
saw that she could fully rely on him ; plainly read 
ing in his face, with unerring feminine tact, that he 
nobly had resolved to banish every feeling but the 
humane one the occasion demanded. 

" Lester, he will not release the bird for which 
he has perilled so much," she said, with frank con 
fidence in her tones, " and we must devise some 
means to save both him and his prize. Haste to 
the castle, and get a rope to save your comrade !" 
she cried to the remaining fisherman. 

" I will save him with my life !" said the young 
noble. " How many bows have we here ?" 

U A dozen," said Kate, at once comprehending 
the object of his inquiry. " But are they strong 
enough, Robert ?" 

."To bear the weight of three men. Aid me, 
Kate, in making a chain of them." 

In a few seconds they had prepared a rope or 
chain nearly threescore feet in length, of bows 
strung together, each link being five feet long. 
Firmly securing one end to the top of the precipice 
by carrying it over an upright limb, they success 
fully tested the strength of the whole by extending 
it along the lawn, half a dozen drawing on it at 
once without breaking it. 

" This will do," he said with confidence, ap 
proaching the cliff to let it down ; but, to his sur 
prise, he saw that the youth no longer retained 
the bird, which, notwithstanding the command of 
the maiden, he had hitherto seemed resolved, as 
Lester had hinted, to preserve, at the peril of his 

While these preparations had been making on 
the cliff, the hawk, not being any longer able to 
reach the young fisher's body with his talons, began 


to strike and lacerate his wrists. Finding at length 
that his strength was unequal to the effort of strangu 
lation (his intention having been, if he could_have 
killed him, to have lashed him to his back, and so 
ascended with him), and satisfied that, while holding 
him in his hand alive, he could not reascend, he re 
luctantly had been compelled by a severe wound 
in the hand to let him go. In his fall the bird 
struck heavily against the root of the tree, and, 
bounding off, descended twenty feet lower, when 
the point of the arrow, which passed through him 
like a spit, caught in a cleft and firmly held him on 
the little shelf before described, which projected 
from the brow that beetled over the sea at the height 
of seventy feet from it. The youth watched him 
a few moments steadily, and saw that he moved 
neither wing nor talon. He was dead ! 

When the intrepid lad saw him arrested in this 
manner, and that life was now extinct, the cloud of 
regret that began to darken his face was all at once 
chased away by a sunbeam of pleasure ; for he dis 
covered, as he followed the bird's course with his 
eye, that the cleft in which he was caught com 
menced at the very foot of the tree, and offered him 
the same perilous facilities of descent that the zig 
zag one above had afforded. When Lester looked 
over the cliff preparatory to letting down the chain 
of bows, he beheld him, therefore, to his astonish 
ment, in the act of swinging himself from the hori 
zontal limb, and the next moment clinging about 
the trunk below it. Before either Kate or he could 
speak to warn him, so sudden was their surprise, the 
daring youth had effected a cautious and rapid de 
scent of the tree, and was standing safely at its 
roots : on casting their eyes farther below, they 
discerned, hanging over the very verge of the brow, 
midway the precioice, the lifeless ger- falcon, which 


instantly accounted 4o them for this new and unex 
pected movement. 

" His blood be upon his own head !" cried the 
maiden, shrinking from the sight. " Lester, look ! 
Is he not attempting to reach the bird ? Or perhaps 
he finds that he cannot climb the precipice again, 
and is trying to descend to the water !" 

"It is a long step of seventy feet from where 
that bird hangs to the bottom," said the old fisher 
man, for an instant rousing himself. " He will 
die, lady, and I shall have to convey his mangled 
corpse in my skiif to my lonely hut, and dig for 
the poor boy a grave in the sand. I loved him as 
if he had been my own flesh and blood !" 

Kate was about to ask him, with surprise, if he 
were not his own son, when a cry of alarm caused 
her to turn round just in time to see Lord Robert 
commit himself fearlessly to the chain of bows and 
swing himself over the dizzy verge. As he de 
scended from her sight, with a smile on his lip and 
a devotion of the eyes as he met hers, that told her, 
plainer than words could convey it, that he ventured 
his life for her sake prompted by his sympathy 
with the interest she took in the daring fisher's boy, 
he said resolutely, 

" I will save him in spite of himself, or share his 
fate !" 

She was about to speak, but her voice failed her ; 
and covering her eyes to hide him, as he hung sus 
pended above the sea, from her swimming sight, 
for a few seconds she appeared as if her presence 
of mind had deserted her. This weakness, if an 
emotion so natural can be termed such, was but 
momentary. Recovering herself by a strong men 
tal effort, she once more looked over the cliff, and 
calmly watched the descent of the daring Lester, 
whom she knew to be a skilful cragsman, with a 

VOL. I. E 


prayer on her lip for his safety. The novel chain 
by which he descended reached to within ten feet of 
the spot where the young fisherman stood, and the 
intention of Lord Robert was to take the tree, and 
reach the roots of it as the other had done before 
him. He had accomplished, however, but a few 
feet of his passage down the rock, not without great 
peril, though at each junction of the bows he found 
a resting-place for his feet and a hold for his hands, 
when the young fisher's lad lowered himself from 
his shelf, and, getting his fingers in the cleft, began 
to descend, alternately supporting his weight by his 
arms, with a celerity and apparent recklessness that, 
to the spectators above, was fearful to witness : he, 
however, took a firm grasp of the rock each time, 
and with a cool head and steady eye, gained the 
spur where the hawk was fixed. In the mean while 
Lord Robert had reached the tree ; and leaving the 
chain swinging in the air, he clasped the trunk, and 
quickly descended it : but the object for which he 
had so generously ventured his life was now twenty 
feet below him. With all his nerve, the fearless 
young noble shuddered when he looked down and 
beheld the means by which the fisher's lad had 
made his last descent. Both had reached the 
points at which they aimed at the same instant ; and 
when Lord Robert bent over to look down, holding 
firmly by the roots of the tree, the other was stand 
ing with perfect self-possession on his dizzy foot 
hold, holding the hawk in one hand, and waving 
with the other to those above. 

" Do you value your life so lightly, peasant, with 
out saying anything of the painful sympathy your 
folly produces in those who are spectators of your 
foolhardiness, that you peril it after this fashion ?" 
said the young noble, passionately, yet unable to 
refuse the admiration due to his fearless character. 


"I am not your serf, Lord Robert of Castle 
More, that my life should be of value in your eyes," 
said the youth, with a look and bearing as haughty 
as the young noble's. 

" Ha !" exclaimed Lord Robert, with astonish 
ment and anger ; " these are brave words to come 
from beneath a homespun jerkin. By the cross of 
St. Peter ! fisherman, thou dost presume too much 
upon that equality to which mutual danger has for 
the moment brought us. I have periled my life to 
assist ihee not by mine own will, by Heaven ! for 
thou deserves! to be rewarded for thy temerity by 
a bath in the sea ; but at the bidding of a lady, who, 
perforce, thinks, if thou shouldst, by any lucky 
chance, break thy neck for the hawk her arrow has 
sent over the cliff, thy blood will be on her head. 
So I have explained to thee the heighth and depth 
of my charity, lest thou shouldst swell still bigger 
to think that, peasant as thou art, thou hast made a 
noble thy servant." 

"A very proper speech, I have no doubt, Lord 
Robert More," answered the fisherman, with a quiet 
smile of superiority (as the noble construed it). " I 
need none of your lordship's aid. Without it I 
came down, and without it I can go up again." 

" The devil have thee, then, for thy obstinacy," 
cried Lester, his eyes flashing with anger; "by 
the rood, if I had thee there, I would be of a mind 
to help thee down rather than up." 

" The path by which I came is equally open to 
your lordship," was the cool answer. "Robert 
More, thrice have I saved your life ; and though you 
have thanked me like a noble for the deed at the 
time, have after cancelled it by treating me like 
a slave, because the accident of birth has made 
you noble and me base. Leave me again. I will 


not owe my life to your lordship !" This was said 
in a steady and determined, but very quiet tone. 

" My good Meredith, I will forgive thy rudeness 
of speech, for thou hast had offence," said the young 
man, struck with his proud and independent char 
acter, so nearly akin to his own. " The haughtiness 
with which I have treated thee is one of the conse 
quences of this accident of birth. Believe me, I 
have never forgotten what I owe to thy courage : 
once saved from drowning by thee ! once snatched 
from a peril almost equal to that thou art now in ! 
once preserved from death beneath the antlers of an 
enraged stag ! I have not forgotten these debts, 
thou seest. If I have seemed to thee ungrateful, set 
it down, brave Mark, to pride of birth rather than 
want of feeling. Shall I aid thee, lad, in gaining 
the top ?" 

" Lord Robert, your words have atoned for the 
past," said the young fisherman, not unmoved by 
this generous and manly defence of the proud 
young noble ; " nevertheless, I will not owe my life 
to you P 

The noble fastened his penetrating gaze on the 
upturned face of the young fisherman, and thought 
he discovered a meaning there that was a key to 
his refusal. 

" Ha! I have it !" he said, internally, after a few 
moments' reflection. " He dares to place his 
thoughts on her /" 

Instantly, with that lightning-like rapidity with 
which his impulsive feelings changed, he shouted 
in a loud, haughty tone of voice, 

" Ho, Sir Peasant ! prithee tell me what strange 
fondness for dead hawks set thee to jeoparding thy 
life after this sort ?" 

" Lester," cried Kate Bellamont from the summit 
of the cliff, hearing their voices without under- 


standing the words, " why this delay ? Can there 
be no means of reaching the noble youth ?" 

" Noble youth !" repeated the young man, scorn 
fully, to himself ; " it will be a princely next. By 
the cross ! If he does not smile and wave his daring 
hand to her ! And she answers it back ! Fel 
low !" he added, fiercely, " I will come down and 
hurl thee into the sea !" 

" You are welcome, Lord Robert," replied the 
other, unmoved ; " yet, as there is barely room for 
me, it is certain that, if you do descend, one of us 
only can remain upon it." 

The impetuous Lester was already preparing to 
descend by the crevice ; but the coolness of the 
other at once disarmed his anger. 

" Thou art a brave fellow, Mark, and I would 
not injure thee. But," he added, sternly, " see that 
thou cross not my path !" 

" How mean you, Lord Robert ?" he inquired, 
concealing his penetration of the lover's motives 
under a look of simplicity that embarrassed the 
haughty and sensitive noble. 

Before he could reply, the voice of the Countess 
of Bellamont, encouraging them both, was heard 
from the summit. She only had this instant ar 
rived, drawn hither by the rumour of the danger of 
the fisher's lad, accompanied by Dermot, and one 
or two men-servants, with ropes and other means of 
assisting those below. 

Her first proceeding, on discovering the position 
of the parties, was to attach the rope to the chain of 
bows, and have the end of it firmly tied to the tree. 
She then bade the men to lower it steadily till it 
could be reached by Lord Robert, and in a few 
seconds he held it in his grasp. 

" Now, Sir Peasant," said Lester, relaxing into 


his former haughty mood, " here is the means of 
reascending the cliff." 

" You may profit by it, my lord, I will not," said 
the youth, firmly. "I will receive no favour at 
your hands." 

" Then, by Heaven, thou shall ascend, whether 
thou wilt or no," said the noble, with energy. " I 
have pledged my word to save thee, and I will re 
deem my pledge. Ho ! there above ! Drop a 
piece of cord a few yards in length, so that it will 
fall at my feet." 

The coil was placed by Kate Bellamont on the 
rope, and the next moment, sliding down like a ring 
along the chain of bows, it was caught in his 

" Let out twenty feet more of the rope," he 
again shouted, " and see that it is well fast above." 

As it passed through his hands, he conducted it 
over the shelf on which he stood till it touched the 
feet of the young fisherman. He had quietly 
watched these preparations, and, as they were com 
pleted, he coolly glanced into the depth beneath, and 
then upward to the young noble, with an air so reso 
lute that the other paused ere he descended by the 
chain, on a link of which one foot already rested. 

" Surely thou wilt not be so mad !" exclaimed 
Lester, reading a fatal determination in his lofty 
and intrepid look. 

" Robert More, I will owe you no favour. Rather 
than be beholden to you for my life, I will fling it 
away, as freely as I have now hazarded it to win a 
smile from the fair maiden of Castle Cor." 

" THOU ! By Heaven, I thought it !" he shouted, 
with scorn and indignation. " If I had thee on a 
piece of ground two feet square that would hold us 
both, I would waive my birth, and do battle with 
thee on that score, hind as thou art ! and see if I 


could not beat out of thy bones this leaven of inso 
lence ! I will now assuredly aid thy return to the 
summit, that I may have the pleasure afterward of 
doing for thee this good service." 

As Lester spoke, he committed himself with 
cool intrepidity to the chain, holding in one hand 
the coil of line, by which it was evidently his in 
tention to lash the young fisherman to the rope, and 
began rapidly to descend. 

" Robert More, I do not fear to meet you on any 
ground. If I did, I should hardly take this leap to 
avoid the lesson you have in contemplation for me ! 
But I will owe you no favour, not even that of life. 
Nor shall you lay a finger upon me to force me to 
do your pleasure in this thing. Hold ! place your 
foot on the nock of this second bow above me, and 
I will take a free spring out into the air." 

This was said in a tone and manner a steady 
uplighting of his clear dark eyes, and a firm, mus 
cular compression of the lip that made the other 
hesitate ; but it was only for an instant : the next 
moment he let the bow to which he held slip 
through his hands, and he descended with velocity 
till his foot struck upon the last link, which was on 
a level with the young fisherman's head. At the 
same moment the latter elevated his arms high above 
his head, holding the hawk between his hands, and 
placing his feet close together, made a spring into 
the air ! 

Lester, with a full knowledge of his cool and res 
olute character, had not anticipated this result; 
and, in his surprise, had nearly let go his hold. He 
at the same time uttered a cry of horror, which 
was answered from the summit by a loud wail of 
anguish from many voices ; for this act had been 
witnessed by all, without the cause which influ 
enced it being apparent. Preserving the erect at- 


titude with which he had left the rock, the young 
fisherman descended like lightning, cut the still 
bosom of the black wave beneath, and disappeared 
below the agitated surface ; the heavy, splashing 
sound of his fall striking on the ears of those on 
the summit of the cliff like his death-knell. Wild 
and full of mortal anguish was the shriek that echoed 

A flush of hope lighted up the countenance of 
Lester when he saw the accuracy with which he 
had struck the surface, and thought upon the man 
ner of his descent. At the same time Kate Bella- 
mont, who had been an interested but puzzled spec 
tator (for their voices, at the height she stood, had 
not distinctly reached her) of the previous conduct 
of the parties, and had beheld with horror the seem 
ingly fatal act of the adventurous youth, also mark 
ed the natatory art with which he had taken the 
spring ; and, scarcely hoping, watched, equally with 
Lester, the circling waves, as they widened from 
the centre, with an intensity amounting to agony. 

After an interval of full thirty seconds, which 
seemed an age to those who watched, the water, 
which had once more become nearly smooth, was 
seen to part many yards from the point of descent, 
and the head of the daring youth appeared above 
the surface. A shout, loud and long, greeted him 
from the cliff; and no voice was louder or more glad 
in the joyful welcome than Lord Robert's. With 
the hawk elevated in one hand, and buffeting the 
waves with the other, he swam bravely towards a 
belt of sand a few yards farther northward ; and in 
a few moments afterward he safely landed, full in 
sight of those standing anxiously on the cliff. Point 
ing to his prize, and waving his hand to Kate Bella- 
mont with native gallantry, he disappeared around 


an angle of the shore, to reascend, by a beaten and 
easy path, to the summit of the promontory. 

In the mean time Lord Robert became an object 
of renewed interest to the party. He was sixty 
feet from the top of the cliff, with no other means 
of reaching it than the precarious chain of bows and 
a few additional feet of rope : even the permanent 
safety of this was doubtful. It depended solely for 
its strength on the goodness of the yews and the 
entire soundness of the slender bow-strings ; and 
one of these he discovered, on running his eyes 
upward, was chafed by some sharp point of the 
rock with which it had come in contact. There 
remained, however, no alternative. It was plain 
that he must either trust himself to it, or follow the 
example of the young fisherman, and take the leap 
into the sea. For a moment he gazed down into 
the water, and seemed to measure with deliberate 
purpose the empty void between ; but, shaking his 
head with doubt, he once more turned his attention to 
the equally dangerous, but more probable, means of 
escape. The catgut which had stranded belonged 
to the third bow above him. Drawing hard upon 
it with his whole weight, he saw that it was slowly 
untwisting, and that it would be madness to trust 
himself to it. His self-possession, however, did 
not desert him. 

" Can you obtain no stout rope that will reach 
me here, ' wild Kate ?' " he said, in a careless tone ; 
" I fear the ragged points of the rock will cut your 
bow-strings, and spoil them for further shooting." 

" No, Lester, there is none !" answered the 
maiden, in a deep voice, that betrayed the depth 
and intensity of her feelings at this crisis ; " men 
have been sent to the cove for ropes, but it is far, 
and it will be long before they return, even if they 
succeed in getting them. God protect you ! Pre- 


serve your coolness, for my sake, Robert !" she ad 
ded, with that force and truth that spurned, at such 
a moment, all disguise. 

Her words seemed to have awakened anew 
the spirit within him. Placing his hand on his 
heart, he carried it to his lips, and gallantly waved 
it towards her. She answered it encouragingly in 
return ; but instantly turning away overcome by her 
feelings, cast herself on the bosom of her mother, 
and burst into tears. 

Necessarily ignorant of this touching testimony 
of her attachment to him, which his imminent dan 
ger now forbade her to disguise longer under a 
mask of badinage, Lester concentrated all his en 
ergies to the task before him. He felt that before 
the lapse of one or two hours, which it would re 
quire to get ropes from the cove which was more 
than a league distant, the inconvenience of his po 
sition would have left him with little strength to 
climb the cliff, even with the assistance that might 
then be rendered. He was now in the full pos 
session of his physical and mental energies, and 
resolved, without longer delay, to avail himself of 
them. Taking the cord, which he had demanded 
for a very different intention, he fastened one end 
around his wrist ; then leaning backward from the 
rock, sustaining himself by the grasp of one hand 
on the chain, he threw it upward with such accu 
rate aim that it passed through the bow next above 
the one with the stranded string, and fell down 
within his reach. He then loosened it from his 
wrist, firmly secured the ends to the lower bow on 
which he was sustained, and so made the cord sup 
ply the place of the weak bow-string, and bear the 
whole strain. This done, he prepared to ascend 
the smooth face of the rock twenty feet to the foot 
of the tree, Grasping the cord with both hands, he 


braced himself in a horizontal position, one of most 
imminent hazard which demanded all the cool 
ness, self-possession arid physical strength he was 
possessed of, and began literally to walk up the 
perpendicular side of the precipice. The stranding 
of a string ; a sudden strain upon the tensely bent 
bows ; the least deviation from the horizontal, 
would have been instantly fatal ! Coolly, slowly, 
steadily, lifting himself, step by step, hand after 
hand, he at last got to a level with the tree, firmly 
grasped one of its roots, and by its aid sprung 
lightly upon the shelf on which it grew. 

His preparations had been watched, and it was 
told Kate Bellamont that he was preparing to as 
cend. But the maiden had yielded her full heart 
to her woman's nature ; and while he was making 
the perilous ascent, with her head lifted from her 
mother's bosom, and with tearful eyes and clasped 
hands, she was looking heavenward, breathing a 
silent prayer for his safety. A shout of joy an 
nounced to her his success ! Once more she 
dropped her face and wept with joy. Lady Bel 
lamont, who felt that all had been done that cir 
cumstances admitted of, refrained from watching 
his perilous feat ; and, while she solaced her daugh 
ter, calmly directed Cormac the forester to steady 
the rope, and keep it from rubbing against the rocks. 

Quitting the chain, Lester now ascended the tree 
to the transverse branch, which he had scarcely 
reached when a loud crack at the root warned him 
that the scathed solitary of the cliff, unused to such 
repeated trials, was giving way under his weight. 
Hardly had he time to throw himself upon the 
chain, and hang by a bowstring with one hand, 
when a series of loud reports rapidly followed each 
other as one after another the roots snapped ; the 
top of the tree waved wildly to and fro, and t^en 


the huge trunk plunged, crashing and roaring, into 
the flood beneath. For an instant afterward the 
appalled Lester continued to cling to the fragile 
chain with nervous solicitude ; but at length as 
sured that he was not to be carried along with it 
into the frightful gulf, he prepared to continue, by 
the same process of horizontal walking he had 
hitherto adopted, his upward progress to the next 
shelf, six feet above him, and with which the top of 
the tree had been on a level. 

The effect of the fall of the tree on those so 
deeply interested above can scarcely be imagined. 
Lady Bellamont answered the heavy crash by a 
wild shriek, echoed by all around save Kate. With 
her the dreadful suspense and anxiety were now 
lost in the certainty of his fate. She calmly raised 
her head, approached the cliff with a firm step, 
and looked steadily down, not with hope, but with 
a settled gaze of despair, as if she would take a 
last look at his grave, and for ever impress upon 
her heart's tablet his sea-covered tomb. It was 
at this moment of her soul's anguish she confessed 
within her own heart that, notwithstanding the 
lightness with which she might have attempted to 
disguise it, she loved him with all the fervour and 
devotedness of a first passion. Approaching the 
verge with such feelings, her surprise was only 
equalled by her joy when she saw him in the act 
of climbing on the shelf above described. A joyful 
cry escaped her ; and the bold youth, looking up, 
acknowledged her presence with a proud smile and 
wave of his hand. From this moment Kate Bel 
lamont was herself again. He was safe ! The 
change from grief to joy in her countenance was 
slectrical ! and she prepared to watch and aid his 
ascent with all the coolness and energy she was 
possessed of. 


He had accomplished thus far his arduous task 
in comparative safety ; and as he had now but twen 
ty feet more to ascend, she looked with confidence 
to its successful accomplishment. This space, 
however, save a shelf within eight feet of the top 
on which the young fisherman had alighted, and the 
zigzag crevice by which he had descended the re 
maining twelve feet, was steep as a wall, and as 
difficult of ascent. The young man, after having 
hitherto passed through such trying scenes, was 
not now to be daunted by any obstacles, of what 
ever magnitude, that opposed his farther progress. 
Nerving himself to the effort, he grasped the rope, 
which here had taken the place of the chain of 
bows, and extended himself, as before, into a hori 
zontal position, meeting and returning with a smile, 
as he did so, her look of solicitude. As he slowly 
and laboriously ascended, she inspired the men to 
their task of keeping the rope from the cliff, often 
assisting them with her own ringers, till at length 
she was rewarded by seeing him safely reach the 
shelf, and stand within eight feet of the summit. 
By her direction the men now bent the projecting 
branch of the tree until it was within his reach ; 
when, aided by one hand placed on the rope, he 
lightly climbed the limb, -and with a spring stood 
in safety on the top of the cliff. 

Kate, who had scarcely breathed as she watch 
ed this final effort, guided by the impulse of the 
moment, flung herself at once, grateful, happy, 
weeping, into his arms ! so certain it is that 
true love will out, give it occasion to speak for it 
self ! And what fitter one than this ? At such a 
time, love is both deaf and blind. It sees, hears, 
knows no voice but its own ; is indifferent to the 
opinions of a world of witnesses, and, setting aside 
all canons of propriety and discretion, abandons it- 

VOL. I. F 


self to the impulses of its ardent nature. Such was 
the love of Kate Bellamont. 

But love, like all other emotions, is but short 
lived in its excess. The temporary excitement 
passes away ; reflection follows ; notions of pro 
priety return ; and the conscious victim, blushing, 
mortified, angry with shame, feels that there is a 
world of witnesses to whose canons she is amena 
ble, and shrinks at the judgment that will be passed 
on her outrage of its received notions of maidenly 
propriety. Such, the next moment after abandon 
ing herself to the first wild gush of joy at his es 
cape, were the thoughts that rushed thick on the 
mind of the proud and sensitive maiden. She 
sprang away from him ; hid her face in her hands ; 
and, for the moment, scarcely knew whether her 
wounded feelings would have vent in tears or laugh 
ter. True to her character as " Wild Kate of Cas 
tle Cor," the latter prevailed ; and, exposing her 
face, she broke into a fit of merry laughter, which 
was caught up and continued, with many a lively 
witticism, by those around, who, the moment be 
fore, were sad and gloomy under the pressure of 
fatal forebodings : for so wonderfully, yet wisely, 
is the human heart constituted, that smiles never 
come so readily, and are never so bright, as when 
heralded by tears. 

The gratified Lester was too happy to receive 
such an ingenuous, impulsive token of her love, 
and of its deep, womanly sincerity, to feel hurt at 
this change in her manner, which his good sense 
enabled him to refer to its true cause. With deep 
and silent pleasure, he felt that that moment had 
fully repaid him for all he had risked. 

Grace Fitzgerald, who had been by no means an 
indifferent spectator of his hazardous adventure. 


now advanced, grasped his hand with great warmth, 
and congratulated him on his safety. 

" You need not look so very fond, Sir Crags 
man," she said, gayly ; " I am not about to follow 
the example cousin Kate has so generously set for 
us. Oh no ! What with your exploit and Kate's 
folly, you will be completely spoiled for me ! I 
dare say you would go down that horrid place 
again for another such hug as my cousin Kate gave 
you. Really, I am shocked !" 

" I will go down and take the leap off into the sea 
for a similar reception from Grace Fitzgerald," 
said Lester, with an air of gallantry. 

" And do you think I would come near such a 
dripping monster as you would make of yourself? 
No, no, I am no Nereid to fancy a man coming out 
of the sea." 

" By which I infer, fair lady," he said, archly, 
" that, if I will go down and come up dry, you will 
give me such a welcome as -" 

" Kate gave you ? Really, you are quite spoiled. 
Kate, come and take care of your beau cavalier, for 
he is no longer fit for any company but yours. 
But here comes one I will welcome, dripping or 

She bounded forward as she spoke, and met, at 
the head of the path, the gallant fisher's lad, who 
just then appeared, on his way up from the water, 
bearing in his hand the ger-falcon which had been 
the cause of putting in peril two human lives. He 
was accompanied by the old fisherman, who, hav 
ing remained on the summit of the cliff, paralyzed 
and inert through alarm and anxiety until assured 
of his safety, had gone down to the beach to meet 
him on his return. She approached the young ad 
venturer with one hand extended to welcome him, 


the forefinger of the other at the same time lifted 
with censure. / 

" I will shake hands with you, Mark ; but you 
deserve, handsome as you are, t<*have your ears 
boxed. See what a to-do you have been the cause 
of; and all for that great black bird, which Kate, 
forsooth, must shoot instead of sending her arrow 
at the target. Well, you are a noble and gallant 
young man, and I like you. Do you hear that, 
Kate ? I too have made a declaration ! Well, 
but I won't embrace you, I think, for you are too 

While the lively girl was speaking, the rest of 
the party, including Lord Robert and Kate, ap 
proached and joined in welcoming him. 

" My brave Meredith," said Lester, frankly ex 
tending his hand, "you deserve a better career than 
that before you. Henceforth let us be friends." 

The hand of the young noble was received with 
out embarrassment and with a native dignity of 
manner by the humble youth, that, to all present, 
atoned for his want of high birth ; while he said, 
with a firm yet respectful tone, 

" We may not be enemies, but we can never be 
friends, Lord Robert : friendship between the high 
and low is but another name for dependance to the 

" I fear you speak too truly, Mark," said Kate, 
who had congratulated him on his escape with an 
honest warmth and sincerity of manner that sent 
the blood like lightning to his brows. 

" Not in my case, brave Mark," said the noble, 
earnestly ; " I will become your patron and " 

" And is there patronage without dependance, my 
lord ?" he asked, in a quiet tone. 

" Well, well," said Lester, colouring, " have it 


your own way. You have pride enough for Lu 
cifer !" 

" But not enough for a noble," said the other, 
with a very slight curl of the lip. 

" Mark Meredith," said Kate, reprovingly, " you 
forget your station. A proper degree of pride is 
the secret of independence. Perhaps you have too 
much. Lord Robert is sincere, and means well 
by you." 

" Believe her, Mark," said Grace Fitzgerald, 
with playful raillery; "nobody ought to know so 
well what Lord Robert means as my cousin Kate." 

" Stop your saucy tongue, Grace," said the 
maiden, placing a finger on her bright lips. " What 
will you now do, Mark, with this bird, that has cost 
us, through your thoughtlessness, so much anxiety 
and suffering?" 

" And betrayed a secret that was not quite a 
secret before," said the mischievous Grace. 

" Grace, prithee hist !" cried Kate, with a spice 
of asperity. 

" Give me the bird, peasant !" said Lester, in a 
tone of authority. " I will nail it on the door of the 
lodge at Castle More, in honour of the fair archer 
who shot it." 

" Here is the gentle owner," replied the youth, 
turning towards Kate Bellamont; and gracefully 
kneeling as he spoke, he gallantly laid the bird 
at her feet, saying, 

" Gentle archeress, deign to accept it is the only 
boon I crave for my peril this trophy of thy skill. 
I have obtained it for thee at the risk of life and 
limb, valuing neither, so that I might do thee a 
service, and save what I know thou wilt be proud 
to preserve in remembrance of this day." 

" By the cross ! a forward youth ! 321 Alfred in 
disguise, I would swear !" said Lester, haughtily, 


his quick spirit kindling at the scene. " He will 
be offering next, fair Kate," he added, scornfully, 
" to share with th^e his palace of bark and poles, 
and his wide realm of sand and seashells. S'death ! 
a proper peasant !" The young noble's eyes spar 
kled, and he paced the sward with angry impa 
tience, as he concluded. 

Kate Bellamont was not indifferent to the tone, 
manner, and language with which the hawk was 
presented by the humble youth. She was flattered 
by his well-directed compliments, and pleased, with 
out knowing why, with the deep, silent admiration 
with which he regarded her. Was it the language 
of love ? His manner reminded her of Lester in 
his most impassioned moments of devotion ; but 
there was in the fine face of the young fisherman 
a calmer, sweeter, more chastened expression ; a 
reverence without humility ; devotion without awe. 
Was it love ? She trembled, as she thought so, and 
dared not a second time meet his dark-beaming 
eyes. The peculiar character of the expression of 
his face was read aright by none but herself and 
Lester : for only love and jealousy can translate the 
language of love. The light blue eyes of the young 
noble flashed fierce fire as he witnessed what he 
deemed palpable proof of his suspicions. His 
glance turned rapidly from the face of one to the 
face of the other. The expression of his maddened 
him ; that of hers troubled and puzzled him ; and 
he turned away, grinding his teeth with bitterness : 
for what is there on earth so bitter as jealousy ? 

The contrast between the appearance of these 
two haughty young men was as great as that ex 
isting between their ranks in life. The young no 
ble was in his eighteenth year, tall, and firmly made, 
with uncommon breadth and expansion of chest, 
which gave a striking appearance of compactness 


and muscular finish to his frame, that promised, in 
manhood, nobleness of carriage as well as great 
personal strength. His complexion was fair as the 
Saxon's ; his features regular as the Greek's ; but, 
unlike his, stamped with that union of manly grace 
and strength, and bold, fiery energy, supposed to 
be characteristic of the ancient Briton. Over his 
clear, high forehead fell locks of light flaxen hair 
of rare beauty, and shining tresses of the same pale, 
golden hue floated about his shoulders. His eyes 
were his most remarkable feature. They were 
large and blue, clear as light, and of a beautiful 
shape, glowing with intellect and sparkling with 
animation, and, when undisturbed, beaming with a 
soft and gentle expression betokening gayety of tem 
per and lightness of spirit; but, when roused by 
anger, they flashed fierce fire, and seemed literally 
to blaze, so bright was the light they emitted. 
They further possessed a striking peculiarity, which 
so marked his angered glance that he who once 
encountered it never forgot it till his dying day. 
This was a habit, or, rather, nature had given it to 
him, when under the influence of angry passions, 
of lowering his brows down over his eyes in such 
a way as to destroy their fine, oval form, and give 
them a strange, triangular shape ; and the pupil 
of his eyes darkening at the same time till they 
grew black as night, communicated to them a sin 
gularly wild and terrible expression. 

His lips were very beautiful both in form and 
colour ; but the upper wore a haughty curl that 
marred the beauty of a mouth which nature had 
chiselled with the nicest hand. He carried himself 
at all times with a gallant but proud air; and his 
demeanour was like that of the highborn youths of 
his time, taught to regard all of low degree as 
created for their use and pleasure. His faults were 


those of education rather than of the heart; and, 
where these deeply-grafted prejudices were not at 
tacked, he was frank, noble, and generous, and not 
unworthy the love of a noble maiden like Kate Bel- 
lamont. At the moment seized upon to describe 
his appearance, he was standing within a few feet 
of the young fisherman, his eyes sparkling with 
anger and assuming that remarkable shape which 
has been described, with his head and one foot 
advanced, and his whole attitude hostile and threat 

The fisher's lad, who continued kneeling for an 
instant at the feet of the fair archeress awaiting 
her acceptance of the trophy he had presented, met 
his dark look unmoved, and, as he thought, with a 
smile of proud defiance. The appearance of this 
bold youth, whose bearing caused the haughty 
Lester to question if nature had not a nobility of 
her own creation, was, save in his proud carriage, 
strikingly opposite to that of the young noble. He 
was about the same age, and nearly as tall, but had 
not such fulness in the chest, and was wanting 
something of his breadth of shoulders ; but his fig 
ure, if lighter, was more elegant, and united great 
muscular activity with native dignity and ease of 
motion. He wore fishermen's loose trousers, with 
a coarse jacket of brown stuff, and was both bare 
footed and bareheaded. His face was exceedingly 
fine. It was oval in shape, with an olive complex 
ion, still more darkened by exposure to wind and 
sun : now, with the glow of exercise and the magic 
presence of her before whom he bent, it had be 
come of the richest brown colour. His dark hair 
was glossy with sea-water, and, parted naturally 
on his brow, fell in long raven waves adown his 
well-shaped neck. His eyes were dark as hers 


on whom he gazed, exceedingly large-orbed, and 
eloquent with thought and feeling. 

" What handsome eyes !" thought Grace Fitz 
gerald, as she gazed on them. 

" What dangerous eyes !" thought Kate. 

His eyebrows were as even and accurately arched 
as if pencilled ; but they were redeemed from any 
thing like effeminacy, on account of the delicacy of 
their outline, by the intellectual fulness of the brow. 
His nose was straight, and of just proportions ; his 
mouth beautiful as a girl's, yet full of character, 
decision, and strength, and oftener it was the seat 
of dejected thought than of smiles. Its expression 
was generally quiet ; yet the finely chiselled lips 
were full of spirit ; and, when silent, seemed most 
to speak, so eloquent were the thoughts that col 
oured them with their ruby life. The merest move 
ment of the' upper conveyed the intensest feelings 
with the vivid rapidity of the lightning's flash, 
whether they were begotten of scorn or irony, 
love or hatred. His bearing, as well as his ap 
pearance, was above his station ; and he manifested 
a haughty independence of spirit that scorned the 
distinctions of rank, and a pride of character that, 
in one of his humble grade, was not far from being 
closely allied to audacity. But perhaps this only 
proceeded from a certain impatience at being com 
pelled, nevertheless, to admit in his own person a 
conventional inferiority to those with whom he felt 
he was on that broad basis of equality, the elements 
of which are equal physical and intellectual quali 

Though a poor fisher's lad, he possessed all the 
feelings and sensations common to humanity, and 
experienced emotions both of pleasure and pain ; 
could feel disgusted at what was revolting, and be 


pleased at what was agreeable. He shared, there 
fore, with all men, of whatever rank, from the prince 
to himself for there could scarcely be a lower 
scale that mysterious principle of the heart by 
which it attracts, and is attracted to, woman he be 
held Kate Bellamont, and this moral loadstone, act 
ing as nature intended it should do, irresistibly drew 
him towards her. Without reflection, without 
cherishing either a hope or a fear, but simply hap 
py in the contiguity, he gave himself up to the new 
and delightful sensations produced by the flow of 
love's magnetic fluid through his heart. In plain 
words, the poor fisher's lad fell deeply in love with 
the highborn heiress of Castle Cor. 

No one of the wonderful phenomena of the hu 
man mind so fully demonstrates that it is a mesh of 
anomalies, as the existence of the fact that, when a 
man loves a woman, he has only to learn that an 
other regards her with the same flattering senti 
ments, to hate him most cordially, seek him out, 
quarrel with him, and even take his life. It would 
seem to be taken for granted that the knowledge of 
this fact would have a directly contrary effect ; for 
the presumption irresistibly follows, that whoever 
feels an interest in the object to which we our 
selves are so closely bound by*lies of love, must, 
without regarding the delicacy of the compliment to 
our individual tastes, be proportionably loved by us. 
But experience has too often demonstrated this by 
no means to be the case ; but, on the contrary, the 
knowledge of the existence of a parallel attachment 
produces in the breast of the legitimate admirer 
wrath, malice, and hatred, filling his soul towards 
the subject of it with all manner of evil. 

True to this feeling of the human heart, the young 
noble and fisher's lad forthwith felt rising in their 


breasts towards each other emotions of a hostile 
character; for love is a famous leveller, and the 
prince can deign even to hate his slave if love raises 
him to a rival. In one of the youths it manifested 
itself in the cool expression of defiance : in the 
other, by haughty scorn and indignant surprise. 

When the fisher's lad had finished his manly and 
gallant address, he modestly continued to await, 
with his hand upon the bird, the acknowledgments 
of the fair maiden. Gratified, yet embarrassed, 
Kate remained silent, knowing not how to reply to 
the chivalrous lad, who, under the magic tuition 
of love, had suddenly assumed a character that 
alarmed her ; who, all at once, had been converted, 
as if by a spell, from the quiet, yet handsome fish 
er's boy, who was accustomed to attend her in her 
excursions along the beach, into a bold and daring 
lover ! She could not be insensible to the compli 
ment. She loved Lester with all her heart ; there 
fore she could not have requited the youth's boyish 
love, had his blood been noble as her own. Yet 
there remained a place in her heart for kindly grat 
itude, and with a smile that sent the quick colour 
to the forehead of the boy, she said, in a voice that 
thrilled to his soul, 

" I thank you, Mark, for the gift. I will keep it 
in remembrance of your courage, as well as a tro 
phy of my skill in archery ; notwithstanding, I fear 
good Cormac will lay claim to it, as it was hit with 
his own arrow. It would make a brave ornament, 
with its wings spread at length above the door of 
his cot," she added, turning to the old forester, who 
stood respectfully on the outskirts of the party that 
was gathered about Mark and his ger-falcon. 

As she spoke her thanks she extended to Mark 
her hand, which he took with blushing embarrass 
ment, and, after a moment's hesitation, gracefully 


carried to his lips. The eyes of the young noble 
sparkled with anger as he saw the offer of the hand, 
but they shot forth a menacing glare as he wit 
nessed the act on the part of the youth : turning 
on his heel with an execration, he would have left 
the ground but for the eye of Kate Bellamont, 
which he caught fixed upon him. 

" Come, Mark," said Grace, " you must join us 
all in the pavilion ; for you need refreshment after 
your fatigue. I wish, Robert, you would present 
him with one of your green hunting-suits. I de 
clare, I should like to see if he would not outbrave 
you all. Do ! good Lord Robert." 

" You are perfectly crazy, Grace," said Kate, 

" Am I ?" was the quiet reply, accompanied by 
a quizzical look, which conveyed far more than the 
words to Kate's comprehension, and made her, in 
spite of her efforts to maintain indifference, look 
exceedingly foolish. 

"You are all beside yourselves, I verily be 
lieve," said Lester, in a tone that his accent alone 
made biting ; " I have no doubt whatever that it 
would oblige you excessively, Lady Grace, if I 
would exchange attire with your fishy favourite." 

" Really, Lord Robert, I wish you would. I 
have a curiosity to know what sort of a fisherman 
you would make. I dare say a very nice one, 
save a spice or so of pride, that would hardly suit 
your station." 

" Pride in a peasant is impertinence. But 'tis an 
attribute most congenial to the station, I discover," 
he added, with cool irony, " and doth recommend 
its possessor, I see, most particularly to the favour 
of noble ladies." 

" I advise you, then, Lester, when you chance 
to fall in their good graces," said Kate, assuming 


the same tone, yet qualifying its bitterness with 
good-humour, " that you renew your suit under 
a fisher's garb ; believe me, it will assuredly re 
store you to favour." 

" I have no hesitation in believing it," said Les 
ter, in a grave tone, and with a marked emphasis 
of manner that excited both maidens to laughter; 
but he was far from participating in their merriment, 
and turned from them with an angry brow. 

" I have delayed the banquet too long with this 
folly," said Kate ; " hie to the pavilion, fair arch 
ers and gallant esquires all," she added, gayly, " and 
I will soon follow you. As for you, Mark, I will 
send to you some of the choicest viands on the 
board, and cousin Grace shall be the bearer of 
them. Cormac, take up the hawk." 

" This honour will please Lord Robert better," 
replied Grace, glancing at him with an archly ma 
licious look. 

" Lord Robert will have nothing to do with this 
piece of folly," cried he, in a tone that made her 
start. " By the cross of Christ ! peasant, if you 
betake not yourself speedily to thy hovel, I will 
hurl thee with mine own hand from the cliff upon 
its roof." 

As he spoke he advanced upon him. Mark 
looked apologetically at Kate, and then sprang to 
his feet, and confronted him with that calm cour 
age which had hitherto characterized him. His 
coolness maddened the impulsive Lester, and with 
a bound he leaped upon him, and caught him by 
the throat ; but, ere he could get his fingers firmly 
clinched upon his windpipe, he reeled violently 
backward by the force of a blow upon his chest, 
dealt with a skill and accuracy of aim that compen 
sated for any inequality of physical strength. With 
eyes darkening with rage, he recovered himself, and 



seeing lying not far from him on the ground his short 
hunting-spear, he snatched it up, and launched it at 
his breast with a force and direction that would 
have transfixed him on the spot but for his presence 
of mind ; anticipating its flight, he quietly moved 
from its path, when it passed within a few inches 
of his head with a loud whirring noise, and, stri 
king against a distant rock, shivered into a thousand 

"Robert Lester," exclaimed Kate Bellamont, 
with a flashing eye and a voice of indignant horror, 
" by that act you have forfeited all that belongs to 
you as a noble gentleman, and also," she added, 
with deep feeling and a proud spirit, " all that con 
nects you with any person (I speak for all) that is 
here present." 

" Pardon me, lady," he said, throwing himself at 
her feet, and attempting to take her hand. 

" Never, Robert Lester. Touch me not ! Leave 
me leave me ! Leave us all ! The farther fes 
tivities of the day will be marred by your presence !" 
" Lady" 

" Silence, assassin !" and the dark eyes of the 
roused heiress of Bellamont flashed with such a 
light as might burn in an indignant seraph's. 

" Ha !" he cried, starting to his feet, " this to 

" This to you, Robert Lester, who now have 
made yourself lower than the meanest peasant. I 
degrade you from your esquireship ; and, faith ! if 
the more noble Mark Meredith shall not take your 
place. Mark, approach and be my esquire of arch 
ery !" 

The youth proudly smiled, but hesitated. 
" I command you. As true as my father's blood 
runs in my veins, thou art the more noble !" 

" God of Heaven ! this is too much to bear calm- 


Jy," cried Lester, his eyes assuming that remarka 
ble shape that characterized them when his anger 
had grown to its height. 

" Mercy !" cried Grace Fitzgerald, with real 
alarm ; " what a fearful look ! I wonder," she 
added, with a slight touch of her usual manner, 
" that I ever could have had the courage to coquet 
with such a terrible creature." 

The fierce noble made no reply, but, glancing 
from her to Kate, looked pleadingly, as if about to 
speak ; but she shook her head with a motion, 
scarcely perceptible, but in a firm manner, that left 
no hope to his repentant spirit. Striking his fore 
head violently, with mingled shame and rage he 
rushed from the spot towards the castle, and walked 
rapidly until he disappeared behind an angle of one 
of the towers. Kate Bellamont followed him with 
her eyes, her brow unbent, her proud manner and 
high-toned look unchanged ; but, when he could no 
longer be seen, there was perceptible a struggle 
on her eloquent countenance to restrain the emotion 
with which her heart was full. With an even voice 
and forced gayety, she said, 

"We will now to the pavilion, maidens fair and 
cavaliers ; and I trust this rudeness of yonder 
haughty boy will not mar our festivities. Mark, 
you will attend me. What! has he gone too? 
God grant two such fiery youths meet not again 
this day." 

" Didst observe, my lady," said Cormac, who 
had been a silent spectator of the exciting scene, 
" didst take note of that look out of the eyes of Lord 
Robert ? Well, if it did not remind me of Hurtel 
o' the Red Hand, as if he had stood before me." 

And the old forester ominously shook his head, 
as if it contained something very mysterious, yet un 
told, and followed the party to the pavilion, whither 


they had already directed their steps, to partake, 
with what spirits they might after the scenes that 
had transpired, of the luxurious banquet therein 
spread for their entertainment. 

Here Kate Bellamont, who preserved a calm 
dignity the while, and, save to the eye of Grace, 
whose generous spirit sympathized warmly and 
sincerely in her feelings, betrayed no outward signs 
of emotion, with a tranquilly-spoken excuse for her 
absence left them and fled to the castle : she ran 
through its long hall like a hunted hart; flew up 
the broad staircase to her boudoir, and entering it, 
closed the door. Then uttering a gasping cry of 
suffering, she threw herself, with a wild abandon 
ment of passion, upon a seat ; the fountains of her 
bursting heart, so long choked up, were opened ; 
and she gave way to an irresistible flood of tears. 

It is ever thus with woman ! Although, in the 
moment of just resentment, pride and anger may 
for a while check the flow of affection, and harden 
the wounded heart as if bound about with bands of 
steel, yet love will return again, dissolve these 
bands, and convert resentment into tenderness. It 
is its nature to obliterate all dark spots that wrong 
may have cast upon the heart ; to palliate offences, 
and to forgive even where forgiveness is a weak 
ness : it makes, itself half sharer of the fault; is 
ever ready to bear the whole weight of the blame, 
and with open arms to receive back again, without 
either atonement or acknowledgment, the guilty 
but still loved offender. 

In a few moments the current of her feelings had 
changed. She thought of the thousand noble qual 
ities of Lester's head and heart, shaded only by the 
faults of pride of birth and a hasty temper. 

" For these," she asked of her heart, " shall I 
break his high spirit ? For these shall I inflict a 


pang on his noble nature ? For these, which 
among men are regarded praiseworthy attributes 
of highborn gentlemen for these shall I make 
him unhappy, and myself for it will kill me 
miserable ? Oh, Lester, dear Lester, I was too, 
too cruel ! You had cause for anger ; but oh, that 
fatal spear ! Would that it had been far from 
your hasty arm !" 

At this moment she heard the sound of horses' 
feet moving rapidly across the court towards the 
forest. With a foreboding of the cause she flew to 
the lattice, and beheld Lester, mounted on his coal- 
black steed, galloping at the top of the animal's 
speed away from the castle, each moment burying 
his armed heels into his sides, and riding as if he 
would outstrip the winds. For a moment she watch 
ed him with an earnest gaze, then threw open the 
lattice, shouted his name, and waved her hand ! But 
his back was towards her, and he was too far off 
to hear even her voice calling him to return ; and 
in a few seconds afterward he entered the wood. 
With tearful eyes she saw the last wave of his dark 
plume as he disappeared in the winding of the 
road ; and, leaning her hand upon the window, she 
sobbed as if her young heart would break. Oh love, 
love, what a mystery thou art ! 



" Alas ! the love of women ! it is known 

To be a lovely and a fearful thing ; 
For all of theirs upon that die is thrown, 

And if 'tis lost, life hath no more to bring 
To them but mockeries of the past alone, 

And their revenge is as the tiger's spring, 
' Deadly, and quick, and crushing ; yet, as real 
Fortune is theirs what they inflict they feel." 

Don Juan. 

KATE BELLAMONT gazed after the departing Les 
ter until his receding form became indistinct, and 
his dancing plume mingled with the waving foliage 
of the forest into which he rode ; she then bent 
her ear and listened till his horse's feet ceased 
longer to give back a sound, when, overcome by 
the depth and strength of her feelings, she leaned 
her head upon the lattice and wept like a very 
child ; at length she recollected the duties that de 
volved upon her as entertainer of the party of arch 
ers ; and, forcing a calmness that she did not feel, 
she descended to the lawn, and once more mingled 
in the festivities of her birthday. 

Notwithstanding all her self-possession, her eyes 
often filled with tears when they should have light 
ed up with smiles ; and even her smiles were 
tinged with sadness ! And how could it be other 
wise, when her heart and her thoughts were at no 
moment with the scenes before her? She longed 
for the day to close for the night to approach 
that she might fly to her solitary chamber, and 
there, hidden from every eye, indulge her feelings. 
At length the long, long day came to an end, and 
with it departed the youthful company on horse 
back to their several homes. A gay and gallant 
appearance the cavalcade presented as it rode 


away from the castle a youthful cavalier prancing 
by the bridle of each maiden, and a band of armed 
retainers of the several families bringing up the 
rear. Kate bade them adieu, and stood in the 
hall-door following them with her eyes till the last 
horseman was lost in the windings of the forest ; 
she then flew to her chamber, and, turning the bolt 
of her door, cast herself upon her heal and once 
more gave free vent to the gushing tears which she 
could no longer restrain. 

Twilight was lost in night : the round moon rose 
apace, and, shining through the Gothic lattice, fell 
in a myriad of diamond-shaped flakes on the floor; 
yet had she not lifted her face from her pillow 
since first she had buried it there, though the vio 
lence of her grief had long since subsided ; and so 
still was she that she seemed to sleep. But the 
soft influence of this gentle blessing was a stranger 
to her aching eyelids. Her soul was sad and dark ! 
her sensitive spirit had been wounded ! the wing 
of her heart was broken. Her thoughts rushed 
wild and tumultuous through her brain, and her 
young bosom, torn by strong emotions, heaved like 
the billow when lashed by the storm. She m-ourn- 
ed in the silence of her heart's depths, without sol 
ace, and without hope ; condemning her own hasty 
act, and, like a very woman, excusing his conduct 
by every invention that her true love could find in 

All at once she was disturbed by a light tap at 
her door. She started suddenly, aroused from that 
world of troubled thought in which she had so 
long been lost to the exclusion of everything ex 
ternal, and lifted her face. Her surprise was great 
on seeing the moon looking in upon her, and filling 
her little room with an atmosphere like floating 
dust of silver. A glow of pleasure warmed her 


heart, and an exclamation of delight unconsciously 
escaped from her lips it was so calmly bright, so 
richly beautiful ! Like a blessing sent from heav 
en, the sweet moonlight fell upon her soul, and all 
the softer and holier sympathies of her nature were 
touched by its celestial beauty. She approached 
the lattice and threw it open, forgetting the cause 
that had aroused her from her mood of grief, in ad 
miration of the loveliness to which she had awa 

A second tap was heard at her door. She start 
ed with instant consciousness ; and throwing back 
from her face the cloud of raven ringlets that had 
fallen about it, tried to assume a cheerful look, and 
bade the applicant enter. 

" I can't, cousin Kate," said the sweet voice of 
Grace Fitzgerald, in a low tone ; " you have locked 
yourself in." 

Kate blushed, stammered something, she scarcely 
Knew what, in excuse, and turning the key, admit 
ted her mischievous cousin. 

" In the dark, Kate !" exclaimed Grace, as she 

" 'Twere sacrilege, cousin, to bring a lamp in 
presence of this lovely moon ! Come stand by the 
lattice with me," she said, throwing her arms about 
her and drawing her towards her. 

The fair cousins leaned together from the win 
dow and looked out upon the silvery scene. There 
was something in the quiet loveliness of the lawn 
beneath, spangled with myriads of dewdrops like 
minute fragments of diamonds ; in the deep repose 
of the dark woods ; in the majesty of the ocean, 
which sent its heavy, sighing sound to their ears 
with every passing breeze ; in the glory of the glit 
tering firmament, with the moon like a bride walk 
ing in its midst, and in their own lonely situation, 


which the silence of the castle and the lateness of 
the hour contributed to increase, to make both 
silent and thoughtful. 

At length a deep sigh escaped the bosom of 
Kate, and Grace turned to contemplate her uncon 
scious face, as with thoughtful eyes, her head rest 
ing in her hand, she gazed on vacancy, evidently 
thinking on subjects wholly separated from the 
natural scenery before her. 

"Dear Kate," said Grace, after watching for 
some time in silence the sad, pale brow of her 
cousin, and speaking in a tone of tender and affec 
tionate sympathy ; " dear Kate, I pity you !" She 
gently threw her arms about her neck as she spoke, 
and, drawing her towards her, kissed her cheek. 

The touching sincerity of her manner, unusual 
to the merry maiden, came directly home to her 
heart. She felt that she was understood ; that her 
sorrow was appreciated ! She struggled with vir 
gin coyness for a few seconds, and then, yielding 
to her increasing emotions, threw herself into her 
arms and wept there. How grateful to her full 
heart to find another into which it could freely 
empty itself! How happy, very happy was she, 
that that heart was, of all others, her beloved cous 
in's ! How unexpected her sympathy ! How 
soothing, how welcome to her sad and isolated bo 
som ! At length she lifted her face, and, smiling 
through her tears, said, after dwelling an instant on 
the lovely features of her cousin, 

" You are a sweet, noble creature, Grace ! You 
don't know how happy your kind sympathy has 
made me ! and all so unlocked for ! Yet I know 
you will think me very silly ; and I fear your nat 
ural spirit will break out again, and that you will, 
ere long, ridicule what you now regard with such 
sweet charity !" 


" Believe me, Kate, I feel for you with all my 
heart. I could have cried for you a dozen times 
to-day, when I saw how very unhappy you look 
ed !" she added, with tenderness beaming through 
her deep shaded eyes. 

" And yet, dear Grace, I think I never saw you 
so gay, nor those little lips so rich with merry 
speeches," pursued Kate, playfully tapping her rosy 
lips with her ringer. 

" It was for your sake, dear cousin Kate. I 
saw that your feelings were wrought up to just 
that point when you must either laugh or cry, and 
one as easy for you to do as the other ; so, trem 
bling lest, in spite of yourself, you should lean to 
wards the tragic vein, I did my little best to make 
you laugh." 

" You were a kind, generous creature, Grace," 
said the maiden, with a glow of grateful energy in 
her manner. " I have not half known your worth, 
though you have been full six months at Castle 

" And now, just as you are beginning to know 
what a nice, good cousin I turn out to be, I am, hey 
for merry England again !" 

" I cannot part with you, Grace ; my father must 
sail to-morrow without you. You will stay with 
me, won't you ?" she added, with sportive earnest 

" I have twice delayed my departure, and poor 
father will need my nursing in this recent return of 
his old complaint. I fear we may not meet again 
for many years. I shall then," she said, with her 
usual thoughtlessness, "perhaps, find you Lady 
Lester ! Forgive me, cousin Kate," she instantly 
added, as she saw the expression of her face change ; 
" 1 am a careless creature, to wound at one moment 
where I have healed at another. But," she added, 


with playful assurance, " this may yet be even 
as I have said ! Nay, don't shake your head so 
determinedly ! Lester is not so angry that a word 
from you will not bring him to your feet." 

" Cousin Grace, do you know what and of whom 
you are speaking ?" said Kate, startled that her feel 
ings should have been so well divined ; shrinking 
with maidenly shame that the strength of her love 
and the weakness of her resolution should be dis 
covered to her observing cousin, and involuntarily 
resenting, with the impulse of a woman at such a 
time, the imputation. 

" Indeed I do, dear coz ! so do no injustice to 
your own feelings by denying them. You will for 
give Lester if I will bring him to your feet ?" she in 
quired, archly. 

" Yes no that is " 

''That you will. Very well. Before to-mor 
row's sun be an hour old, he shall kneel there." 4 

" Not for the world, Grace !" she cried, trem 
bling between fear and hope ; her love struggling 
with the respect due to her maidenly dignity, which 
she could not but feel, still, that Lester had out 

" I don't care for your words, Kate ; I know they 
mean just the opposite of what you say. Robert 
Lester shall kneel at your feet to-morrow morning, 
and sue for pardon for his offence," she added, with 
gentle stubbornness. i 

" Without compromising my " she half uncon 
sciously began. 

" I shall not compromise you in the least. There 
shall be no syllable of concession on your part 
mentioned ; let me manage it my own way, and 
see if you do not love each other the better for 
it yet?" 

" Coz !" she cried, placing her fore finger on 


her mouth reprovingly, yet pleased and smiling 
with the first dawnings of bright returning hope. 

" I am glad to see you smile once more, and I 
am resolved you shall yet be happy," added Grace, 
who had shown that, beneath the light current of 
gayety that usually characterized her, there was a 
flow of deep and generous feeling ; and that, with 
all her thoughtless levity, she was susceptible both 
of the sincerest attachment and of the warmest 
friendship. Her words conveyed the germe of 
hope to the breast of her cousin. Her confident 
manner inspired confidence ; and the happy Kate, 
giving herself up to the direction of the sanguine 
feelings her language and presence had caused to 
spring up in her sinking heart, became all at once 
a different being. 

"If I am happy in the way you mean, I shall 
owe it all to you," she said, kissing her. "Now 
for your plan, my sweet diplomatist." 

" Now for my plan, then. That Lord Robert 
has gone home very angry indeed, there can be no 
question. Now, when a lover is angry, justly, 
with his mistress, he will be ever ready to meet 
her, not only half, but the whole, of the way, to 
bring about a reconciliation. When he has no 
right to be angry with her, and is so foolish as to 
be so, how much the more readily then will he be 
brought to her feet ! There is a spice of argu 
ment for you. Now, as Lord Robert has no cause 
in the world to be offended with you, it follows 
that he has every cause in the world to induce him 
to acknowledge his offence, and ask pardon there 
for on the very first opportunity. Now all that he 
wants cheerfully to do this, it appears to me, is 
the assurance that, after such a philippic as that 
with which you were pleased to send him off, he 
will be received graciously." 


"But how, if I should be inclined to be gra 
cious, sage cousin of mine, is Lester to know it ?" 

" That will very easily be brought about, I think. 
Let me see !" and she seemed to muse very pro 
foundly for a few seconds. " Ha ! I have it. I 
will borrow that curious locket he gave you " 

" Locket, Grace Lord Robert gave me !" re 
peated Kate, colouring, and looking out of the lat 
tice as if some interesting object had at that mo 
ment drawn her attention. 

" Yes," replied Grace, dryly, and with a look of 
the most provoking positiveness. 

" It is no use, I see, to conceal anything from 
you, mischief ! How did you know he gave it to 

" Young ladies are not wont to take from their 
bosoms a boughten trinket, and slyly kiss it a hun 
dred times a day, and " 

" Grace, Grace !" cried Kate, attempting to stop 
her saucy speech. 

" And sleep with it under their pillow." 

" Cousin Grace !" 

" I have done," she said, quietly. 

"You well may be. Oh, if I do not wish you 
had a lover, that I could repay you in kind !" 

" Perhaps I have !" was the imperturbable re 
joinder of the maiden. 

"I dare say fifty whom you call so. Among 
the gay Oxford gallants, the heiress of a coronet 
could not be without admirers ; but oh, if I knew 
only of one lover who could set that little heart of 
yours a trembling !" 

" You forget your locket, cousin," said the other, 

" What shall be done with it, Grace ?" 

" Send it to Lester, with this message : ' He who 
returns this gift of love to her who sends it, shall 

VOL. I. H 


with love be met.'' Now is not that very pretty, and 
as it should be ?" 

" What a wild creature ! Would you have me 
send such a message to Lester, child ? He would 
think me jesting with him." 

" No, never. Is it not just what you want to 
say what you feel what you wish, above all 
things, he should know you feel ?" 

" Yes, indeed, Grace," she replied, with the most 
ingenuous naivete. 

" Then it shall go. Give me the token. Nay, 
part not with it so reluctantly ; 'twill soon be back, 
with a prize worth a thousand of it. Give it me, 
coz. Nay, then, kiss it ! and so will I." 

" No, you shall not !" cried Kate, with laughing 

" Oh, I do hope I never shall be in love !" said 
Grace, getting possession of the locket. " Here is 
pencil and paper. Can you write by this moon 
light ? Lovers, methinks, should write by no other 
light." She spread the paper on the window as 
she spoke. 

" Write ! what do you mean, Grace ?" exclaim 
ed Kate, with surprise. 

" I mean for you to put down, in your nicest 
hand, my gem of a message to Robert." 

" Never, Grace. What will he think of me ?" 

" He will think you love him very much." 

" Just what I don't wish him to think," she said, 
with singular decision. 

" Was there ever !" cried Grace, holding up 
both hands. " Well, this love is an odd thing ! 
What instinctive coquetry ! Like John Milton's 

' All conscious of your worth, 
You would be woo'd, and, not unsought, be won.' 

I don't understand this disguising love under a 


show of coldness seeming to hate where the heart 
pants and glows with devotion. Oh, if this be love, 
I'll none of it. Here is the pencil, and there is a 
fair sheet, and the moon is patiently holding her 
silver lamp for you ; will you write ?" 

" I will, to gratify you, cousin Grace," she said, 
taking the pencil and placing her fingers lightly on 
the paper which lay in the window. 

" To please me ! very well, be it so. Who could 
have believed, a quarter of an hour ago, that I 
should have had to coax you to send a line to Rob 
ert Lester ! You may well hide your telltale 

Kate bent her head over the gilded sheet and 
began to write, or, at least, to make characters 
with her pencil, when Grace, impatient at her slow 
progress, looked over her shoulder and exclaimed, 

" Why, what are you writing 1 Lester Robert, 
Robert Lester, Robert Lester, Lester Rob ." 

Kate glanced at what she had written, hastily 
run her pencil through it, and said, with a mortified 

" I had forgotten what to write." 

" And so put down what was deepest in your 
memory," said Grace, with a vexatious air. " Now 
take this fair page, and write as I repeat : 

" ' He who shall bring again this gift of love to 
her who sends it, shall with love be met* 

" Is it written ?" 

" Letter for letter." 

" And you will find that each letter will act as a 
charm. Never so few monosyllables as I have 
strung together here held so much magic." 

" Who will be its bearer ?" Kate now inquired 
in a lively tone. 

" I will find a Mercury both sure and swift," she 
said, folding the locket in the billet. 


This gage d'amour was oval in shape, of plain 
gold, with a chased rim, a little raised, enclosing an 
azure field, on which, in exquisite enamel, were in 
laid the crests of Lester and Bellamont, joined to 
gether by two clasped hands : beneath was the san 
guine motto, 


" Now, coz, for one of your raven ringlets to 
bind around it !" 

" No, I will not, Grace !" 

" Then I will tie it with a lock of my own hair," 
she said, in a sportive manner, running her fingers 
through her auburn tresses ; and, selecting one that 
was like a silken braid for its soft and shining tex 
ture, she prepared to sever it from her temples. 

"You provoking child, you will have your own 
way," said Kate, shaking forward the dark cloud of 
her abundant hair, and intwining her finger in a jetty 
tress that rivalled the sable hue of the night swal 
low's dark and glossy wing. 

" Half an hour since you verily would have 
parted with every lock to be assured the sacrifice 
would bring him to you ; and now, forsooth, scarce 
ly will you part with a strand to bind a note. There !" 
she added, clipping a beautiful ringlet that Kate 
had selected from the rest ; " now all that is want 
ed is wax no, not that ! I will fasten it with a true- 
lover's-knot, which will be far better ; will it not, 
coz ?" 

As she said this she looked up with a bright 
light dancing in her dark hazel eyes ; and, with 
out waiting for a reply, in a few seconds tied, with 
great gravity, the mysterious knot she had men 
tioned, and gave the billet to her cousin for the 
superscription. "Write, 'These: to the hands of 
Robert, Lord Lester, of Castle More, greeting,' " she 
said, with gravity. 


" Nay, I will direct it simply ' Lester, Castle 
More,'" she said, decidedly. 

" By which," said Grace, laughing, " you avoid 
the distant respect conveyed in my own on the one 
hand, and the tenderness that is ready to gush from 
your heart on the other. Love certainly does make 
his votaries skilful tacticians ! Truly, now, is not 
this a proper love-billet written in a lattice by the 
light of the moon, and tied with a braid of the lady's 
hair in a true-love-knot? Well, when I am in 
love I shall know how to manage rightly all these 
little affairs." 

" Who is to be our Mercury on this occasion ?" 
inquired Kate, with a little doubt in the tones of her 
voice. " I fear we shall have to trust it to a moon 
beam also." 

" Something more substantial, I assure you," said 
the good-humoured maiden, in a very positive man 

" Not one of the menials, for the world !" 

" No, no !" she answered, with quickness ; and 
then approaching her cousin's ear, she pronounced, 
very mysteriously, the very homely monosyllable, 

" Mark !" 

" That proud boy ! He become the bearer of a 
message to Lester !" she exclaimed, looking at her 
with surprise. 

" For me he will !" replied Grace, confidently. 

" Two such spirits to come in contact ! No, no ! 
Have you forgotten how they parted to-day ?" 

" No." 

" Then why do you propose so wild a scheme ?" 

" Mark will do as I bid him," she said, with a 
naive and pertinaciousness that was wholly irresist 

Kate burst into such a merry, musical peal 
of laughter, that at first the maiden looked very 
H 2 


grave, but at length found it in vain to withhold 
her sympathy, and laughed wilh her ; while the rich 
blood mounted to her cheeks, and invested her with 
surpassing beauty. 

" Oh, oh !" cried Kate, triumphantly, " so you 
are a very little in love ! I half guessed it ! Doubt 
less there is blood enough in thy noble veins for 
both of you." 

" Very well, cousin, you may think what you 
choose," she replied ; adding, in a tone and man 
ner that left her cousin in doubt if she were not 
half in earnest, " but if I were in love with him, is 
he not noble in person ? handsome, gallant, and 
brave ? Why may he not be worthy a noble maid 
en's love ? I would not give him as he is, for Les 
ter, with all his nobility, coupled as it is with his 
terrible passions." 

" Out upon you, jade," said Kate, good-humour- 
edly ; " will you revile in this vein my noble Les 
ter compare him to a fisher's lad ? Where is your 
pride of birth and rank, Grace Fitzgerald ! Really, 
I should not wonder if, with your levelling notions, 
you should some day throw yourself away upon 
some one unworthy to wear so fair and rich a flower 
in his bosom." 

" I have both wealth and rank, and shall be my 
own mistress soon ! that I will give my hand where 
my heart goes, you may rest assured, cousin Kate," 
said the maiden, with spirited, yet sportive decis 

" Marry come up ! I shall not wonder if I come 
to be cousin to a cordwainer's 'prentice yet ! I 
shall assuredly allow you to go to the good old 
earl, your father, to-morrow, and shall not fail to 
bid him, in a letter, to lock you up." 

" Love laughs at locksmiths, you have heard it 
said, cousin. But a truce to this. I am not yet 

: > : : .''..; : 


in love, so be not alarmed. I will sally forth and 
find Mark, and at once despatch him with this mes 
sage to Castle More." 

As she spoke she threw a cloak over her shoulders 
and prepared to envelop her head and face in its 
hood. At this crisis Kate's troubled countenance 
indicated a wavering purpose; and as Grace was 
fastening the hood beneath her chin, she laid her 
hand on her arm : 

" No, Grace, you must not. Lester will scorn 
me ; let him go for ever first !" she added, in a sad, 
irresolute tone of voice. 

" No, no ! In ten minutes afterward you would 
be playing Niobe. Have your feelings towards 
Lester changed an iota ?" 

" No ; but" 

" Yet you know not, if you delay, how his may 
change, nor what rash act he may commit !" 

" I will send the token," she said, after a mo 
ment's struggle. 

" I will soon return with news of my success," 
she said, placing her hand on the latch of the door. 

" Go, then, quickly ! But you will not venture 
to the beach alone ?" 

" 'Tis light as noonday ! A step across the lawn, 
and a short trip down the path, and old Meredith's 
hut is within a stone's throw. I will not be three 
minutes gone." 

" I must certainly go with you, Grace." 

"Not for the world!" 

" Lest I interrupt the tender moonlight interview 
you have in prospect with the handsome fisher 
man, I dare say. Ah, you arch girl ! I verily 
believe you have an eye to your own interests, 
which accounts for your devotion to me in this mat 
ter," said Kate, laughing, and shaking her head at 


" A fisher's lad !" she repeated, in the slightly 
scornful tone her cousin had hitherto used. 

" Nay, I was not in earnest, Grace," said Kate, 
apologetically, kissing her as she was leaving the 

" Nor was I," replied the lively maiden. " Watch 
me from the opposite window as I cross the lawn. 
Courage, dear cousin ! You will soon have Les 
ter at your feet, and be folded in his " 

" Go !" cried the blushing Kate, closing the door 
upon her ere she could finish her sentence. 

She listened to her light footstep echoing through 
the hall till it was lost on the lawn ; then turning 
to her window, she shortly afterward discovered 
her gliding across the archery-field towards the 
cliff, and, with a wave of her hand towards the lat 
tice, rapidly descend the path that led to the beach. 
With her heart fluttering with mingled hopes, 
fears, and desires, she sat watching in the win 
dow for her return. Her thoughts the while were 
busy. She followed, in imagination, the message 
to Castle More ; pictured Lester's reception of the 
token ; fancied his surprise, his rapture, perhaps 
his scornful indifference ! No ! she would not 
believe he could feel this, for she judged his truth 
by her own ! Then, in her imagination, she heard 
his loud and hasty demand for his horse ! she could 
see him on his swift course towards Castle Cor. 
He approaches ! she can almost hear his horse's 
hoofs in the court ! the next moment he is kneeling 
at her feet for forgiveness ! Wonderful power of 
the imagination ! How delightful to yield the soul 
to its influences when the images it paints on the 
mind are all pleasing ; all as vivid as the reality 
of which they are only the shadows ! While the 
meditative maiden is leaning from her lonely lattice, 
indulging her happy visions, the mind naturally 


turns to the adventurous Grace and the young 
fisher's lad, who was to become the bearer of the 
message which should be the magical instrument 
of converting all these delightful dreams into re 

After the attack upon his life by the impetuous 
noble, taking advantage of the exciting scene that 
followed between him and Kate Bellamont, Mark 
quietly withdrew from the party, gained, unob 
served, the path, and was out of sight, far down 
the cliff, before his absence was discovered. He 
had remained long enough, however, to witness the 
disgrace of Lester, and to hear the indignant and 
bitter words of the offended maiden. With a fleet 
foot he reached the beach, hastened along the 
shore to his cot, and, crossing its lonely threshold, 
cast himself upon a block by the hearth, and bu 
ried his face between his hands. His heart 
heaved strongly, and he seemed to labour under 
deep and great emotion. It was clearly appa 
rent that he was undergoing a severe mental strug 
gle, and that the tide of his life would turn on the 
issue. At length he lifted his fine face and looked 
around upon the interior of his humble home; 
poverty and its signs met his eye wherever it fell ! 
His glance then rested on his own coarse habili 
ments, and he started to his feet, and with a lofty 
expression of resolution and an air of stern decision, 
said, half aloud, 

"This day shall end my servitude to poverty. 
Because the accident of birth has cast my lot with 
in these wretched walls, and made me fellow-pris 
oner with penury, therefore shall I not throw off 
my chains when I will? Have I not a soul a 
mind ? Do I not think, feel, act, speak, like those 
whom men call noble ? May I not, in spite of 
nature, yet become the builder of my own name 


the carver of my own fortunes ? By the light of 
the bright sun, I will no longer be the slave of oth 
ers ! the 'lowborn serf the 'humble fisher's lad' 
the peasant, hind, and what not, that means base 
ness of birth and degradation of soul ! No ; hence 
forth I will take my place among the highest of 
them all, or leave my bones to bleach on the sand !" 

He paced the bare ground-floor of the wretched 
shed for a few moments with an energy of tread 
and a determined air that well harmonized with 
his words. At length he stopped short in his ex 
cited walk; his face assumed a gentler aspect; 
and in a voice low and melancholy, he continued, 

"And this beauteous being, whose bright form 
fills my dreams like a celestial visitant; who is in 
all my thoughts ; whom to gaze upon at an humbfa 
distance is bliss ; whose voice strangely thrills my 
soul : her, for whom I would lay down my life ! 
whom to make happy I would forego all earthly, 
ay, future hopes of happiness, I am forbidden to 
love! I cannot gaze on her without reproof! I 
am denied the bliss of speaking to her and lis 
tening to the music of her voice in reply ; of attend 
ing her in her walks ; of sharing in her pursuits 
and pleasures, because I am lou^born. Yes, I am 
' the poor fisher's lad !' and scarce deemed worthy to 
be her footman. My approach into her presence 
is rudeness ! my adoring gaze vulgar impertinence ! 
/ am the fisher's lad ! 'Tis not for such to love 
such a glorious creature ! Though his heart may 
be of the noblest mould ; his taste refined ; his 
spirit proud ; his nature lofty and aspiring, yet 
he may not love where love points him. 'Tis not 
for him to place his' affections on the gentle and 
lovely : on those worthy of his heart's deep devo 
tion, and to whom he can distribute the rich treasure 


of his love. He must degrade his pure and sacred 
passion by linking his fate with one of his own 
class, who may never appreciate him ; or let his 
wealth of love exhaust itself on his own life, and 
consume it with its fire ! Nevertheless," he added, 
with a sparkling eye, " the fisher's boy dares to love, 
and love high! Love knows no rank. I have 
placed my affections on a noble object, my gaze on 
a lofty eyry and never will I clip the wing that 
once has taken so high and bold a flight. I love 
her ! highborn as she is, I have dared to send my 
thoughts up to her ! Yet, alas !" he continued, 
moodily folding his arms on his breast, and speaking 
slowly and bitterly, " alas ! what shall this avail ? 
Will she requite the daring love of a peasant ? 
Will she not scorn will she not laugh at me ? 
Will she listen to the deep outpourings of my pas 
sion ? No, no, no! She must mate with her 
mates, and she would bid me mate with mine ! 
Yet, may I not rise above my condition," he ex 
claimed, with a glowing brow and flashing eye ; 
" may I not win rank and name that shall make 
me worthy of her ? Shall I stand here idle, and 
see this haughty Lester bear away a prize of which 
he is no more worthy than I ? No, I will perish 
first. From this day I am a man ! Henceforth 
I belong to no degree, no rank. I am to choose 
what I will be. This hour I burst the degrading 
fetters that chain me to the class in which birth 
has cast me. From this moment I am the archi 
tect of my own fortune, and I will erect a temple 
that men shall admire, or bury myself beneath its 
ruins ! The sea, on which I have been cradled, is 
open before me like a mother's bosom, welcoming 
me to its embrace ; and on it, with the aid of God 
and my own spirit, I will win a name that shall hide 
the humble one I wear, and under it yet lay at the 


feet of her, who would scorn me under my present 
one, laurels that shall have made me worthy of her 
love !" 

As he concluded his cheek was flushed ; his 
eye sparkling ; his step rapid and firm ; his counte 
nance elevated and glowing ; and he strode the lit 
tle cabin as if he was for the moment all that he 
had resolved to be. He was so lost in his feel 
ings, so wrapped in the noble vision of the future 
his ambitious and ardent mind had pictured, that 
the old fisherman, who had slowly followed him 
from the cliff, entered without attracting his notice. 
The aged man gazed on the animated and excited 
youth with astonishment, and for a few moments 
was silent from surprise. At length he called him 
by name. He started, and was for the first time 
sensible that he was not alone : 

" Well !" was the short, stern response. 

" Do you know who speaks to you, my boy ?" 
asked the old man, with mild reproof. 

" Yes I do, my good father," he said, instantly 
resuming his wonted kindness of manner, and ta 
king his hand ; " forgive me ; I had forgotten my 

"Do not be angry, child, at this freak of my 
young lord," said the old fisherman, in a tone ha 
bitual to his class in speaking of those above them ; 
"it was but a little outbreak of spirit; and you 
know it is not for the like of us to be angry at the 
nobility for such things. They are our lords, and 
we must do as they will." 

" And let them take my life ay, if they will, 
make me their slave, which is far worse ! Never ! 
'Tis the language of a bondman you utter, and un 
worthy the lips of manhood !" 

" You talk as if you was one of the quality, boy ! 
You will find it different when you get to be as old 


as I am. I have put up with many wrongs in my 
day from gentle blood." 

"And have not resented it?" demanded the 
youth, with spirit. 

" What could a poor fisherman do ? Is it not 
their right to act what they will to? We poor 
fishermen have only to pray to God to give them 
gentle wills towards us !" 

" And is this the creed you would teach me ? 
Debasing, grovelling, mean obedience to the tyr 
anny of an order ! Before I do it, may my hand 
wither at the shoulder, my tongue palsy in my 
mouth ! I should indeed deserve to be a slave ! 
You would forbid me to resent this wrong from this 
hotheaded young noble ?" 

" It will do thee no good ; if thou shouldst take 
his life, thou would st hang for't." 

"And, if he should take mine ?" 

" There would be none to avenge thee, boy. 
The judges, who are always on the side of the great, 
would say thy life was forfeited because thou 
hadst lifted thy hand against one of the privileged." 

" God ! I cannot believe that all men do spring 
from Adam and Eve," exclaimed the youth, impet 
uously. " Father," he said, after a moment's si 
lence, speaking in a tone of mingled shame and 
sorrow, " thou hast, fortunately, a spirit fitted to 
thy station I pity thee ! For myself, I will be no 
man's serf, no lord's menial ! If accident has 
made me almost on a level with the brute, nature 
has endowed me with the feelings of a man. Fa 
ther, I leave you with to-morrow's sun." 

" My child ! my child ! what evil hath taken pos 
session of thee ?" cried the old man, holding him 
by both hands. 

" No evil, but good ! To-morrow I go from 
you !" he replied, resolutely. 

VOL. I. I 


"And leave me destitute in my old age, my 
boy ?" 

The youth was touched more by the accent in 
which this was said than by the words. He bu 
ried his face in his hands and groaned aloud ; then, 
with a sudden burst of filial affection, he cried, 
throwing himself upon his aged breast, 

" No, no ! I will bend my neck to every insult, 
rather than thou, my more than father, shouldst be 
left helpless." 

" Thou wilt not go away ?" reiterated the old 
man, pleadingly, as if doubting the sincerity of his 

"Not while thou art spared to me, beloved 
grandsire. Thou hast protected my infancy and 
youth ! been to me both father and mother. If I 
be not a faithful son to thee, and protect not thy 
old age, may I fail to attain the rank and honour 
among men to which I aspire, and which, if pur 
chased at the expense of filial gratitude, I should be 
unworthy to wear !" 

" Bless thee, bless thee, Mark !" said he, fondly 
embracing him. " Providence has made our lot a 
humble one ; let us submit to it with obedience. 
Come, my boy, think no more of it, but launch the 
skiff, and bring home our evening meal from the 
vast storehouse that has ever fed us, and which 
never holds its life even from the undeserving. Go, 
my son : on the rocking wave, and in the silence 
of the lone deep, your heart will become calm, and 
peace will return to your soul. At such times it 
is that the good and devout Christian is the most 
happy ! I sometimes think the holy apostles did 
owe much of the holy piety which they possessed 
to their lowly occupation of fishers." 

" They were Christians. You are a Christian, 
father ! I am not one save in name. Would to 


God I were ! perhaps I then might bear my hum 
ble lot more calmly. Now farewell a while ; I 
will be in again ere the moon rises." 

He rushed from the cabin with his heart almost 
bursting in his breast, launched his little bark, 
hoisted the frail latteen sail, and committed himself 
to the deep. 

Seated in the narrow stern of his fragile skiff, the 
thwarts and bottom of which were covered with 
fishing-lines, a dip-net, and other signs of his lowly 
pursuit, holding the rude tiller in one hand and the 
sheet of his narrow white sail in the other, he shot 
swiftly out from the shore, wafted by a light and 
fitful wind. From habit he steered his course, 
and shifted the sail from side to side to woo the 
baffling airs, without giving his thoughts to his oc 
cupation. His lips were compressed with thought, 
his brow was set, and every feature of his silent 
face was eloquent with the feelings that occupied 
his bosom. His mind was struggling between 
filial affection and ambition between love for the 
highborn maiden and duty to his grandsire. The 
sufferings of the latter, who looked to his labours 
for his daily bread, were, if he should desert him, 
present and positive. The hopes connected with 
the former were altogether future and uncertain. 
Should he inflict a present evil for a future good ? 
Would his filial attachment compare with his love ? 
Which should he sacrifice ? He felt that he could 
not make his grandsire the victim, either of his love 
or of his ambition, without the forfeiture of that fil 
ial virtue, wanting which he would be unworthy the 
prize he should incur this penalty to obtain. His 
thoughts became insupportable ; and, for a time, 
he was nearly wrought up to phrensy by the inten 
sity of the mental conflict. At this crisis, while 
his eyes were fixed vacantly on the crisp waves as 


they went singing and rippling past him, his bosom 
far more disturbed than they, he was startled by a 
loud, quick hail. 

" Boat ahoy ! Helm-a-starboard, or you will be 
into us !" 

He mechanically obeyed ; and, as he looked up, 
saw the dark hull of the yacht, that had lain all day 
at anchor in the bay, within reach of his hand, 
while his boat was gliding safely along its side, 
directly against which he had been unconsciously 

"You must keep a look-out, lad, how you run 
aboard a king's yacht, or you will stand a chance of 
getting a shot in your locker !" said a gruff, yet 
good-humoured voice. " But you have a quick 
ear and ready hand to clear our counter as you did. 
What say you to serving his majesty, my lad ? 
It's better than catching herring ; arid, then, many's 
the younker of your inches that's come in over the 
cat-head, and afterward walked the quarter-deck 
with a brace of gold bobs on his shoulders." 

The young fisherman's ears greedily received 
every word ; they struck a chord within his bosom 
that strongly vibrated again. Involuntarily he put 
his helm down, and brought his boat up into the 
wind. He looked longingly upon the vessel's 
deck ; measured the beautiful and light proportions 
of her hull, and surveyed with delight the graceful 
spars, following them with his eye to their tapering 
tops, from which gay flags streamed in the breeze : 
he admired, apparently with all a seaman's gratifi 
cation, the tracery and interlacing of the neatly-set 
rigging, and the snowy sails, some of which were 
hanging in festoons from the yards, while one or two 
lazily spread their broad white fields from yard to 
yard : he observed the neat appearance of the men ; 
their happy faces ; their frank, good-humoured 


manners : he thought over the blunt but kindly 
offer he had received, and his hopes whispered, 

" Fortune has opened this way for me ! my des 
tiny must be linked with this vessel !" 

He then thought of his father, and his head drop 
ped despondingly on his bosom ; he thought of 
Kate Bellamont, and his eyes sparkled, and he felt 
like bursting all filial ties and leaping at once on 

" What say you, my lad, will you ship ?" said the 
man, observing his hesitation ; " I'll give you ten 
rix-dollars as bounty." 

" Now ?" he eagerly asked, starting up in his 
boat, and extending his hands with intense earnest 

" The instant you enter your name on the yacht's 

" I will go with you." 

" Done ! come alongside." 

Mark hesitated ere he obeyed. Ten rix-dollars 
had, at first, seemed to him an inexhaustible sum : 
a moment's reflection convinced him that it would 
not support his grandfather six months without la 
bour, for which he was nearly unfitted on account 
of his age. If, he thought, at the end of six months, 
therefore, he should not be able to return to him, or 
if his own life should be lost in the interim, would 
not the misery and want such an event would entail 
upon him fall heavy to his charge ? 

All this passed through his mind as he drew aft 
the tack and pressed the tiller up to windward to 
run under the vessel's bows. Instantly he shifted 
his helm, let the sheet fly free to the wind, and 
shot suddenly away in the opposite direction. 

" He's off with a flowing sheet !" said one of the 
seamen, laughing. 

" He's gone to bid the old man good-by," cried 
I 2 


another ; " he'll be alongside before morning, kit 
and kid." 

" He's gone to take leave of his lass," added a 
third. " A wise lad to anchor his last night ashore." 

" I wouldn't lose him for six months' pay," said 
the captain of the forecastle, who had first hailed 
him ; " but I am afraid we shall see no more of 
him than what he now shows us," he added, sha 
king his head, and turning to pace the deck. 

Scarce hearing, and heedless of these character 
istic remarks, the young fisherman kept on his 
course seaward till he had got a league from the 
land, when he hove to and lowered his sail ; then 
baiting and casting his lines, he plied his humble 
task, his eyes the while often fixed on the distant 
towers of Castle Cor, and his thoughts now with 
its fair inmate, now brooding over his own lowly 
destiny. When at length the sun dipped the edge 
of his burnished shield into the sea, he for the last 
time drew in his lines, each heavy with a fish, 
hoisted his sail, flung it broad to the evening wind 
that blew gently landward, and, taking the helm, 
steered towards home. But the wind grew lighter, 
and soon came only at intervals in " cat's-paws ;" 
his progress was therefore slow, and he was yet a 
mile from the land when it left his sail altogether. 
Night came on, and the moon rose above the bat 
tlements of the castle, and flung its scarf of sil 
ver far out upon the scarcely dimpled bay. From 
time to time he held his open palm to windward, 
in vain trying to catch a passing current. He 
threw back the dark curls that clustered about 
his forehead, and laid it bare to receive the faint 
est breath that might promise the return of the 
wind. But the air was motionless ! His boat 
rose and fell on the glassy undulations, but moved 
not towards the shore, save by the slow landward 


heave of the sea. Springing upon the thwarts, he 
brailed up his sail and bound it to the mast, and 
then, bending to the slender oars, sent his light skiff 
over the water with a speed that mocked the idle 
winds. He soon got within the dark shadow flung 
by the cliff along the water far beyond the land, 
and run his boat on the beach beside his cot. The 
old fisherman welcomed him with a kindness that 
not only touched his heart, but rewarded him for 
the sacrifice he had made on his account. He also 
assisted him in conveying the fish into the hut, and 
set about himself to prepare their rude repast. 
Mark placed his oars in the beckets over the door, 
and walked out to indulge his thoughts; to brood 
over his deferred, if not blasted hopes ; and to 
struggle again and again against the unfilial temp 
tations that assailed him. He insensibly wandered 
along the beach, that sparkled in the moonlight 
like snow beneath his feet, until he came to the nar 
row strip of sand that stretched beneath the over 
hanging cliff from which he had leaped, and con 
nected his hut with the path up the rocks. He 
looked up to its dark and terrific roof, and then 
down into the black pool at his feet, and a half- 
formed wish that he had never risen again from its 
silent depths, escaped him. 

" That I had perished, ere life had been pre 
served to be dragged out in this miserable servi 
tude," he said aloud. "What is life to me? Its 
refined joys ; its courtly pleasures ; its fair forms ; 
its wealth ; its honours ! This is my world these 
slimy rocks this lonely bay ; yonder hut my 
palace, and to fish for daily sustenance my pastime. 
This is my life this my universe ! What have I 
to do with aught beyond it ? The world was made 
for others, not for me not for the peasant boy ! 


No, no ! Madness ! Must I endure this ?" he 
cried, with fierce impatience. " Filial love, filial 
gratitude, how bitter, bitter are ye !" 

He struck his forehead violently, and turned on 
the belt of sand with a fevered step. Suddenly he 
felt a touch on his shoulder, as light as if a fairy's 
foot had lit upon it. He started, and, turning quick 
ly round, beheld a female, enveloped in a hood and 
cloak, standing immediately behind him. The 
grace of her attitude, and the easy decision of her 
whole manner, assured him that she was not low 
born. His heart would have whispered the name 
that was enshrined in it, but the figure was not tall 
enough for hers. With an instinctive conscious 
ness that he was in the presence of rank and beauty, 
to which, in this union, his independent spirit never 
refused to do homage, he doffed his cap, and ad 
dressed her with that native grace and dignity 
which characterized him : 

" Lady, seek you aught in which I can aid you, 
that you have come to the seaside at this lonely 

The moon shone full on his youthful features, 
which were shaded with locks of dark-flowing 
hair, parted across his high, pale forehead, and de 
scending to his shoulder. She gazed for an in 
stant, ere she replied, on his youthful face, on each 
lineament of which his bold character was written, 
while his ardent spirit spoke eloquently in every 
look. As he bent forward to catch her answer, 
with his bonnet in his hand, the cloud had vanished 
from his brow before the supposed presence of 
youth and beauty, and his deferential manner, so 
opposite to his former bearing, seemed to inspire 
her with confidence. 

'* My business is with you alone, Mark !" spoke, 


from beneath the shaded hood, the sweet, hesitating 
voice of Grace Fitzgerald, intuitively shrinking 
within the shadow of the cliff as she addressed 
him, just out of which, in the full light of the moon, 
the young fisherman himself stood. 

" Lady Grace !" he exclaimed, with surprise, as 
her voice fell on his ear. 

" Grace Fitzgerald, in body and spirit," said she, 
with her usual gayety. 

" Can the highborn heiress of Earl Fitzgerald be 
served by one so humble ?" he asked, in a tone 
slightly tinged with his former gloomy humour. 

She seemed to be at a loss, for a moment, how 
to reply, scarcely knowing in what way to inter 
pret his words. At length she said, advancing 
frankly towards him, 

"I have not come to command your services, 
Mark, but to beg of you a favour; to ask you to 
execute a mission of delicacy, that can be intrusted 
to no one so well as yourself." 

The frank and kind manner in which she spoke, 
the graceful propriety with which she overstepped 
the barrier of caste that separated them, sensibly 
affected him. It was the first time he had been 
so addressed by those above him in birth and sta 
tion ; the first time his services had not been de 
manded as a right by those who needed them. 

Her suavity and condescension of manner were 
perhaps prompted by the remembrance of the out 
rage he had received at Lester's hands, and by a 
knowledge of his intrepidity, and of his pride of 
spirit, which she knew to be chafed and goaded 
by the insults inseparable from his station. She 
therefore generously wished to sooth and bind up 
his injured feelings. She had, too, her own notions 
of what constitutes true nobility ; and it is plain, 


from her conversation with Kate, that she was less 
governed by the social canons which regulate such 
things, and was infinitely more of a democrat than 
her haughty and beautiful cousin. That her heart 
had anything to do in the matter, though Mark 
was so handsome, so gentle, and so brave withal, 
cannot be supposed ; inasmuch as the little god 
seldom ensconces himself behind a peajacket to 
take aim at a heart mailed beneath a silken spencer. 
But, then, Cupid is very blind, and, besides, is so 
given to odd whims, that but little calculation can 
be made as to the direction from which his shafts 
will fly. 

" Command me. lady," he replied, with grateful 
emotion, as she concluded. 

" Are you angry with Lord Robert ?" she asked, 

" Can I forgive him ?" 

" But you will forgive him foi for the sake 
of my cousin Kate!" 

" If she were to bid me kiss his hand, I would not 
refuse her," he exclaimed, with a sudden glow of 

Grace sighed, and was for a moment silent ; for 
she plainly saw that her influence had but little 
weight in this quarter in comparison with her cous 
in's. She then took the locket from the folds of 
her cloak, and said, in a very slightly mortified tone, 

" It is her wish that you bear this token of her 
forgiveness to Lord Robert. You will see that it 
is tied with a braid of her own hair /" 

(Was there not a spice of feminine pique in this 
last clause, lady ?) 

" Bear this from her to him . ? " he inquired, in a 
voice trembling with emotion. 

" Yes." 

" Never !" replied he, with vehemence. 


"Mark!" she said, in a tone of gentle reproof, 
placing her hand lightly upon his arm. 

" Pardon me," he said, hastily, " but but " 
His voice choked for utterance. " Oh God ! Lady 
Grace," he suddenly cried, with an outbreak of ter 
rible and ungovernable emotion, " you know not 
what it is to be to be " Here his feelings were 
too strong to be controlled, and, turning his face 
from her, he gave way to a paroxysm of the wildest 

She stood by in silence ! She appreciated fully 
his feelings, for she had overheard the soliloquy he 
gave utterance to before he had become aware of 
her presence. She knew what he was and what 
he aspired to be, and how deeply his degrada 
tion preyed upon him. She sympathized with 
him with her whole heart; and with her sympa 
thy there entered into her breast another emotion, 
which in woman's heart is so nearly allied to love, 
namely, gentle pity ! When she saw that the first 
strong tide of his feelings had in some degree sub 
sided, in a voice so full of what she felt that it 
touched all the finer sensibilities of his nature, and 
seemed to breathe peace throughout his soul, still 
ing every billow of passion, she said to him, 

" Mark, I do pity you from my heart ! I know 
you are not fitted by nature for the state to which 
you were born. But to the bold spirit and deter 
mined will there is a wide road open to distinction ; 
and in it men, humble as yourself, have won hon 
ourable renown, in the splendour of which the mere 
accident of their birth has been lost. The same 
road to honour lies open before you !" 

The vivid eloquence, the animation of voice, the 
spirited manner, and the lofty energy of look with 
which this was spoken, united with the depth and 
sincerity of her interest in him, which she disdained 


to disguise, language can inadequately express. 
Its effect on him was electrical. He sprang for 
ward, knelt at her feet, seized her hand, and, in 
the fulness of his heart, pressed it gratefully to his 
lips. She withdrew it in confusion, and he in 
stantly buried his face in his hands, overcome with 
the painful feeling of having offended. She was 
the first to speak. 

" Mark, bear this packet to Lord Robert ; de 
liver it into his own hand, and immediately leave 
him, so that you give him no opportunity of renew 
ing his feud. In the morning, on the earl's return 
from Kinsale, come to the castle, and I will repre 
sent your case to him." 

" Dear lady, I will leave this message for you at 
Castle More ; but pardon me if I decline your of 
fer to serve me !" 

" Then cousin Kate shall make it," she said, 

" Forgive me, but it will be still more firmly de 

Grace was puzzled; and half sportively, half 
sincerely, it entered her thoughts that she had 
played her hand well if already, as his words 
seemed to imply, she had found more favour in the 
young fisherman's eyes than her cousin. But, all 
at once, the thought flashed upon her mind that it 
was alone the pride of love that led him to refuse 
any favour at her cousin's hands. 

" You mean," she said in revenge, smiling as she 
spoke, " that you dislike my cousin Kate so much 
that you will not receive any kindness at her 

" If such could be inferred from my words, I re 
call every letter of them," he said, with an ear 
nestness that amused her. 

" I will then speak for you to my uncle." 


" Lady, you will think me very ungrateful," he 
replied, " but" 

" But you will take no favour from the father of 
Kate Bellamont. Really, my cousin is compli 

He was embarrassed by the light in which she 
seemed to take his words, and, in attempting to ex 
plain, involved himself still deeper, 

" Do not be distressed ; I perfectly understand 
you, Mark," she said, with a laugh that relieved 
him. " Will you be obliged to me ?" 

" Pardon me if I say no !" he answered, grate 
fully but firmly. " No, lady," he added, in a grate* 
ful tone of voice, yet sadly, "I must work out 
brighter fortunes for myself by my own energies." 

" I admire your independence. But, if you should 
need my I would say, the assistance of any one- 
will you remember Grace Fitzgerald ?" 

He did not reply ; his heart was swelling, but 
he laid his hand upon his bosom with an eloquent 
gesture that conveyed more than words. 

" Enough !" she said, touched with his impres 
sive manner. " I shall ever be ready to do for you 
all that can advance you to name and rank ; and 
for your own sake, for the sake of " here she 
paused with embarrassment, and then added, " those 
who take an interest in you, it becomes you to rise 
from this humble station, and win for yourself a 
name and station among men. Do not forget that 
the proudest names in England sprang from the 
lowest rank. My own maternal ancestor was a 
favourite groom of William the Conqueror, who, 
for his prowess in a certain battle, knighted and 
parcelled out to him an equal division of land with 
his own knightly companions in arms. Shall I not 
yet hear of you with pride ?" she added, extending 
her hand to him with characteristic frankness. 

VOL. I. K 


" Lady," he said, with animation, " if ever a low 
born youth, who would rise above his adverse for 
tunes, had cause to go forward, have I. The mem 
ory of your words will shine like a star of hope 
to guide me through the future. God help me ! 
Lady Grace, you shall never blush with shame 
for him in whose fate you this night have shown 
an interest," he continued, with emotion. "For 
your sake I will achieve whatever man can ac 

" And will you do nothing for my poor cousin's 
sake ?" she asked, significantly, and in a tone of 
raillery, not able, even at such a time, to subdue 
altogether her natural temperament. 

" There is little hope that one so humble is ever 
in her thoughts," he replied, doubting, yet half be 

" Little hope, I fear, while Lester lives," she 
said, smiling. " But think not of her think not of 
love now," continued she, with animation ; " let hon 
our be your idol, and woo fame alone as your bride. 
There are some there is one, Mark, who would 
rather see you honoured and ennobled by your own 
hand than than but no matter, I have already 
said too much. Kate will have good reason to 
suspect I had cause to come alone," she said, men 
tally, "if I linger here longer;" she then added 

" Fly, Mark, with this message. If you would 
serve me, bear it safely ; if you would do my cousin 
Kate a favour, bear it quickly ; and, lastly, for your 
own sake, get into no quarrel." 

They had insensibly walked along while speak 
ing, and were now at the foot of the path by which 
she had descended to the beach. 

Mark took the packet from her hand, and, as he 
did so, pressed it with an air of native gallantry 


blended with gratitude, greatly to her not unpleas- 
urable surprise and confusion, and then hastened 
at a rapid pace along the beach in the direction of 
Castle More. She followed him for a few mo 
ments with her eyes, and then, sighing uncon 
sciously (for it is in vain longer to disguise the in 
terest she felt in the interesting fisher's lad), as 
cended the steep path and safely gained the castle, 
where, still at her lattice waiting her return, she 
found her cousin, to whom forthwith she commu 
nicated her success. 

With a swift tread Mark traversed the curving 
shore till he had left a full league between him 'and 
the spot where he had separated from Grace Fitz 
gerald. Then striking into a path that led inland, 
he followed it with undiminished speed, and with a 
light and confident step, that showed his familiari 
ty with every intricate winding of his moonlit, way. 

How often he pressed to his adoring lips the 
locket of hair that secured the billet ; how often he 
paused to read over and over again, by the light of 
the moon, the delicate characters traced by the 
pencil her fingers had guided, let each one that 
has loved enumerate for himself. As he went 
along, he could not help revolving in his mind the 
manner of Grace Fitzgerald, and asking himself a 
hundred times if she could mean anything; and 
when it could not be concealed from his penetra 
ting mind that she did mean something, or affected 
to do so the wish rose to his lips that Kate Bel- 
lamont had been in her place. Yet the very next 
moment, so contradictory is love, he congratulated 
himself that she was not, feeling that he should 
never have had the courage to meet her face to 
face alone, as he had met her cousin. Love sure 
ly endows his votaries with a singular union of 
boldness and timidity ! Your lover is either an ar- 


rant coward or a lion, and sometimes he is both in 
one, as he happens to be in or out of his mistress's 

At length he came in sight of an ancient and ex 
tensive ruin in the midst of the forest, and was 
picking his way among the fallen fragments, along 
which his road wound, when he was startled by the 
sound of horses' feet coming from the direction of 
Castle More ; the moment afterward, he saw, by 
the light of the moon, two horsemen emerge from 
the wood, and rapidly approach the ruin. He in 
stinctively drew to one side of the path to escape 
observation, when he heard one of them utter an 
exclamation of surprise ; both then suddenly reined 
up, and, from the sound of a third voice, they ap 
peared to be holding conversation with some one 
they had unexpectedly encountered. 


*' Away, away my steed and I 
Upon the pinions of the wind !" 


" Thou false fiend, thou liest ! 
I do defy deny spurn back and scorn ye !" 

" That thus a son should stand and hear 
The tale of his disgrace." 


THE indignant Lester, to whom Vhe story now 
reverts, had no sooner left the presence of Kate 
Bellamont and the field of archery, than he has 
tened to the stables, saddled his horse with his own 
hand, and threw himself across his back. Then, 
turning his head northward towards Castle More, 
he gave him the rein, and, without forming any 
definite aim or object, but goaded onward simply 


by the fiery impetus of his feelings, with a feverish 
desire to leave far behind the scene of his disgrace, 
rode away at full speed. 

His thoughts were dark and confused ; his heart 
full ; his spirit sore ! He looked neither to the 
right nor left, and gave backward glance to turret 
nor lattice for he was all unskilled in that book of 
riddles, woman's heart ! and what hope then had 
he, that he should turn his head for beck or signal 
of return ? If he had been a little more experi 
enced, or somewhat better read in this book of 
mysteries, where every line of the text is contradict 
ed by a page of annotations, he might have known 
that a signal would have been flying for him at 
the very last moment ! But, alas for poor Kate 
Bellamont ! alas for both ! her voice, and the wave 
of her snowy arm were alike in vain ! He rode 
onward, seeing, feeling, being conscious of nothing 
save his own deep disgrace and misery ; and at 
each fierce pang that reflection inflicted, he buried 
his spurs deep, and dashed forward as if he would 
fly from his thoughts, or find relief from them in 
swift motion. 

The forest into which he rode, and in the depths 
of which he disappeared from the earnest gaze of 
Kate Bellamont, was very ancient and of great ex 
tent, and intersected by many roads winding in all 
directions through its dark bosom : it was inhabited 
chiefly by woodsmen and foresters, but contained, 
besides, two solitary hunting-lodges, a league asun 
der, appertaining to the contiguous estates of Bel 
lamont and Castle More. At the northern termi 
nation of this wood, two leagues distant from Castle 
Cor, on the crest of a rock that overhung a small 
woodland lake or mere, was situated Castle More ; 
a single square tower, with a low turret rising at 
each angle, and defended on the inland side by a 
K 2 


high wall with bastions and a deep moat. It was, 
at the date of this narrative, the abode of Lady Les 
ter, the widow of General Lord Lester, who had 
fallen a few years before while gallantly fighting 
in Spain. Since his death she had withdrawn 
herself from the sphere of the court, and excluded 
herself almost altogether from society; devoting 
her time to the performance of the severe religious 
duties usually imposed by the Catholic church 
only on religieuses, and to the observance of rigor 
ous and frequent fasts ; and it was rumoured that 
she even inflicted upon herself painful penance 
with rods, and slept through Lent in a crown of 
thorns. In these austerities her friends, and, also, 
sensible and discreet people, saw only the diseased 
melancholy of a widowed wife who had been 
fondly devoted to her departed lord, rinding relief, 
as woman's sorrow often will, in a life of religious 
seclusion. But the suspicious and evil disposed, 
the humble labourer and marvel-loving hind, saw 
in her stern religious life only painful penance for 
crimes committed in early life, and were wont to 
shake their heads and lower their voices whenever 
the "Dark Lady of the Rock" was named. 

But, notwithstanding her austere life, Lady Les 
ter was not indifferent J,o the claims of young Lord 
Robert. Her heart had been wrapped up in the 
high-spirited boy from his childhood; and as he 
grew in stature and grace, next to her graven im 
ages, she worshipped him. Unrestrained by pa 
ternal fear, and indulged by Lady Lester in every 
idle wish, he grew up to the age of seventeen with 
a spirit that never had been curbed ; with a tem 
per that never had known a check. Though by 
nature of a generous and noble disposition, as the 
unavoidable result of such a course, he was the 
slave of passion and the victim of self-impulse ; 


with the will to act justly, but without the power 
to guide that will : like a noble bark that has lost 
its rudder and is driven furiously along by its out 
spread sails, which, managed by skill and discipline, 
might yet become the instruments of its safety, to 
irremediable shipwreck and ruin. If educated at 
all, he was taught to regard all the retainers of his 
vast estates as vassals ; beings of meaner mould ; 
a race of mortals who had somehow smuggled 
themselves into existence long after Adam founded 
his ancient family poachers on the world's ma 
nor now doomed, for their punishment, to crawl 
as slaves on the earth they had dared to come upon 
unbidden. He was taught to regard all unnoble as 
ignoble ; and to consider them as an inferior and 
secondary race, and only created to be subservient 
to the will of those of his caste and rank. With 
such notions he became haughty and arrogant, and 
cherished a spirit of pride of birth, combined with 
a jealousy of his privileges, that at all times was 
sufficiently prompt to show itself. 

With two such opposite characters ; a generous 
and just one the gift of nature ; an imperious and 
haughty one the result of education, he was as 
uncertain as the wind, variable as the evening 
cloud. There was but one mind that could control 
his ; one spirit to whose power his own would bend ; 
but one voice that could act upon his passions with 
a gentle influence, and, with a word, chase the 
darkest cloud from his brow, even as the harp of 
the youthful minstrel banished the gloomy spirit of 
evil from the soul of Saul ! This potent person 
was Kate Bellamont : the wand she used, Cupid's 
magical bow. By its aid she brought his haughty 
will in subjection to her own mild sway, and con 
verted the lion into the lamb. She had been his 
playfellow from childhood; they had strolled, fish 
ed, hunted, boated together. Others might be in 


company, but somehow Kate and Robert seemed 
to be attracted to each other by a mysterious affin 
ity : if they fished, he baited her hook and took off 
the fish when she caught them ; if there was a 
ramble, they were certain to stray off together and 
lose themselves in the forest, and always were 
the last back to the castle ; if there was a party to 
sail on the mere, Robert and Kate were sure to be 
seated near each other ! 

By-and-by they began to advance into their 
teens : when Kate got to be fifteen, she began to 
grow very shy of her playfellow; would not let 
him kiss her as he was wont ; nor ramble with 
her his arm encircling her little round waist. She 
ceased running races with him, and began to call 
him " Lord Robert ;" and would blush if he hap 
pened to turn and catch her eye fixed musingly 
upon his face. Robert himself also began to 
show signs of change. He grew diffident and 
silent in her company ; looked at her for a long 
time together without saying a word ; then would 
turn away and sigh, and look again, and sigh again. 
He became less violent, less frequently angry ; his 
voice became gentle and subdued : and he began 
to show signs of fear in her presence, and trem 
bled if she laid her hand on his arm, which, of late, 
she was very careful not to do. Indeed, there is 
no describing half the signs by which their progress 
from the playmate state of chrysalis to the lovemate 
state of ripe youth was marked. Robert Lester 
very soon found that he was very unhappy away 
from Kate, and very happy in her presence. The 
maiden, on her part, was not long in discovering 
that the days were very long when Robert did not 
visit Castle Cor, and that she thought of him, 
somehow, a great deal more than she used to do. 
It evidently was very clear that she loved to look 
from the battlement of the tower at the four distant 


turrets on the top of Castle More, when he was 
away, much oftener than she had done the year be 
fore. Things went on in this manner, though from 
worse to worse, till about a week before Kate's 
sixteenth birthday, when it chanced that she and 
her quondam playfellow were riding slowly home 
ward, after an unsuccessful pursuit of a stag, which, 
after having led them within a mile of Castle More, 
doubled and turned upon its track towards the south, 
and plunged into a morass not far from Castle Cor ; 
so, as night was approaching, they had given up 
the pursuit, and turned their horses' heads towards 
the castle. 

They had been slowly riding side by side for 
some time, breathing their horses, neither speaking 
a word, but occasionally exchanging timid side- 
glances in the way young people sometimes do 
without lifting their eyelids. If by chance their eyes 
met, both instantly averted their heads, switched 
their horses, or plucked a leaf; but, in a few sec 
onds, their heads would gradually come round, the 
pupil of the eyes steal into the corners and again 
meet, causing a second time very great embarrass 
ment, and very guilty colouring of cheek and brow, 
as if each had been detected by the other in some 
crime. So they rode together in this pleasant man 
ner for full half a mile ; and one would believe, from 
their silence and the wide space they guardedly 
preserved between each other, that they had quar 
relled. But their countenances, though grave, look 
ed too happy and sentimental for that ; besides, a 
slight smile, or, rather, just the soft reflection of 
one, played about their mouths. This for several 
weeks past had been precisely their bearing towards 
one another whenever they happened to be alone 
together ; but, when in the presence of others, they 
both gave way to the highest tone of gayety and 
spirits. It was all very strange, very ! 


The lover at length looked ahead, and saw, 
through an opening in the forest, the towers of Cas 
tle Cor not a quarter of a mile distant. He invol 
untarily reined in his horse, and looked full in Kate's 
face ; his lips parted ; he essayed to speak, but his 
voice adhered to his jaws. So he gasped, sighed, 
and laid his hand eloquently on his heart. Kate also 
saw the towers, and reined up at the same moment 
he did ; looked demurely on the ground, and then, 
as if she had nothing better to do, let fall her riding 
whip, notwithstanding she had to untie it from her 
wrist to do so. Instantly Lord Robert threw him 
self from his saddle, giving the bridle a slight shake 
as his foot left the stirrup, a hint which the sagacious 
animal obeyed by bounding off towards the stables, 
and took it from the ground ; then blushingly, and 
with a conscious look, as if contemplating a daring 
deed, he presented it to her. As, with averted eyes, 
she extended her hand for it, he placed in it trem 
blingly, instead of the whip, his own hand. She nei 
ther started nor turned her head, but her young bo 
som rose and fell quick, and he thought the hand 
fluttered with a new pulsation as it lay in his. She 
did not withdraw it. He grew confident, and 
slightly, very slightly, pressed a finger. Thereupon 
the little hand only throbbed the quicker. He 
pressed two, then three fingers, and then, with a 
boldness that grew with the occasion, he folded the 
soft, gloved hand all in his own. The next mo 
ment he coloured with conscious guilt, and looked 
up into her face as if about to throw himself upon 
her mercy. But she was so intently watching the 
rich dies of a sunset cloud that she evidently did 
not know what he was about ; so, instead of asking 
pardon and looking very sad, he put on a very 
nappy countenance, and, ever and anon casting his 
glance upward to her face, began, little by little, to 


draw off her glove. But, as she made no demon 
strations of being aware of what he was doing, 
he pulled the glove quite off. For an instant he held 
it suspended, while he stole a very doubtful glance 
into her half-averted face ; the next moment the 
warm, snowy hand was pressed between his own, 
and then, growing bolder apace, he began to cover it 
with kisses. Hereupon the maiden slowly turned 
her head and looked down at the bold youth with a 
look that she doubtless meant to be a reproving 
one ; he cast his eyes to the ground, still holding 
the quiet hand nestled between both his own, and 
said, in a soft whisper, 

" Kate !" 

" Robert !" was the equally gentle suspiration in 

" Are you angry ?" 

" I ought to be." 

" Then you are not ?" was the half-joyful, half- 
doubting interrogation. 

" No," was breathed in accents so very gentle 
that it was conveyed to him by the movements of 
the lips alone. 

" Shall we walk to the castle ?" 

" Yes." 

And the young lady, studiously avoiding his eyes, 
was gently and passively assisted to the ground ; 
as she touched it, his arm glided about her taper 
waist, and somehow their lips met. and again met, 
and met again, and met so often, that the horse was 
far out of sight before the fact forced itself on the. 
mind of the maiden. 

" Robert, desist ! There ! my horse has gal 
loped off!" 

" Shall I bring him to you ?" asked the delight 
ed youth, in a tone that showed he did not very 


much apprehend she would despatch him on such 
a mission. 

" No, we can walk. But it is so foolish !" 


" Nothing." 

And they walked on together for a few momenta, 
in silence. 

" Kate !" 

" Robert." 

"Do you love me?" 


" May I seal the confession ?" 

" A fine time to ask leave now !" she said, laugh 

Another kiss, and then another, and then a great 
many others, firmly sealed this little love affair, and 
placed them on a perfect understanding with each 
other. They were from this moment lovers ! 
They quarrelled only twenty times in the subse 
quent interval of a week that preceded her birth 
day ; than which no greater proof need be ad 
vanced to show the new relation in which they 
stood to each other. But, then, they always made 
up again ; the youth, whose hasty spirit caused 
him five times out of seven to be the offender, 
being ever ready to atone by every loverlike de 

But such a sad breach as had been made between 
them this day was without a parallel. To his own 
mind it seemed too wide to be repaired ; too gross 
to be atoned for by words. He, on his part, felt that 
the lofty character and proud spirit of Kate, though 
love plead never so loudly, would not brook the 
insult her feelings had received by the wild out 
break of his passions in her presence. He felt 
that he had forfeited all title to a place in her affec 
tions ; and that her indignation was justly roused 


by the outrageous deed he had madly attempted : 
with bitterness of heart he acknowledged that he 
deserved to be banished for ever from her presence, 
and to be remembered by her only with contempt. 
But he knew not of what enduring material a maid 
en's heart is composed ; he knew not that, when 
love takes possession of it, like a magnet thrown 
among some delicate machinery of steel commu 
nicating to every part a portion of its own myste 
rious nature, it penetrates and pervades every at 
tribute, converts every passion to its own hue, and 
renders each feeling subservient to itself. To its 
arbitrament all things are referred. Reason, judg 
ment, prudence, and even piety become secondary 
to the will of this autocrat of the heart; and a 
deaf ear is turned even to the counsels of the wise 
and good when they do not conform to its dictates. 
Such is the power of love wondrous, vast, incom 
prehensible ! A religion without a god or a future ; 
unbounded in its power ; universal in its extent ; 
all-pervading in its influences ! 

He galloped along through the winding avenues 
of the silent forest, scarce roused from his sad 
meditations by the startled deer that fled at his ap 
proach, yet stooping mechanically as some old oak 
flung its gigantic arm low across the path. Uncon 
sciously he urged on his noble horse to its utmost 
speed ; his bonnet pressed down over his gloomy 
brow ; his eyes dark and settled in their expres 
sion ; and his hand nervously grasping the rein. At 
one moment he would drop his head upon his 
breast, and be overcome by the bitterness of grief. 
At the next he would throw back his head, and 
with eyes flashing fire, gnash his glittering teeth, 
shake his clinched hands above his head, and curse 
in the face of Heaven ; while the horse, catching 

VOL. I. L 


his fierce spirit, would erect his bristling mane, and 
bound madly forward like the wind. These terri 
ble paroxysms of mingled grief and rage would pass 
away, and then he would ride slowly, with his arms 
folded, and with an expression of settled desponden 
cy. Three several times did he check his horse, 
and, half-turning him round towards Castle Cor, 
pause, and seem to deliberate between the sugges 
tions of mingled hope and doubt. But, after a few 
seconds' thought, he would shake his head despair 
ingly and again spur forward. 

In one of his moods of sullen gloom, with his 
arms folded across his breast, his head drooped, 
the reins lying loosely upon the horse's neck, he 
came upon an old ruin half a league from Castle 
More, and within the boundaries of its wide do 
main. Here and there, amid a confusion of moss- 
grown fragments that everywhere strewed the 
ground, rose to his eye a mouldering buttress ; the 
half of a Gothic window ; a ruined tower, lifting 
itself in melancholy loneliness, in the last stages of 
decay ; or, a doorway choked to its lintel with rub 
bish. Over all crept the ivy, that lovely emblem 
of charity, binding up, with its slender fingers, the 
wounded towers ; covering with its thick robe of 
leaves the nakedness that time had exposed ; and, 
where it could neither heal nor strengthen, wreath 
ing about the dilapidated walls garlands of enduring 

It was the ruins of a chapel, where, centuries be 
fore, the barons of Castle More had worshipped. 
Now all was desolation. Its bell was hushed ; its 
choir for ever silent. The priests the worship 
pers, where were they ? sleeping beneath the ruins 
of the crumbling chancel ; their high or holy names, 
which no man remembers, carved deep in the su 
perincumbent marble. Apparently coeval with the 


fallen temple, near its eastern end grew an aged 
tree, spreading over half the ruin its huge broad 
arms as if it would fain protect, in its desolation, 
the relics of that structure whose days of honour 
it had witnessed. A soft evening sunlight, strug 
gling through the tops of the surrounding forest, 
shed a crimson glow over the whole scene, and im 
parted a quiet and sacred character to the spot that 
took from it its aspect of desolation. It stood 
there lonely and majestic in its ruin, forcibly sug 
gesting to the mind the idea (for there does exist 
a mysterious sympathy of association between man 
and inanimate objects) of calm, Christian old age, 
ripe in years and holiness, gathering about itself, 
with dignity and grace, its mantle of decay. 

Wrapped in his gloomy thoughts, the horseman 
was absently following the path that wound among 
the ruins, when, as he turned a sudden angle of the 
pile, his horse started and nearly threw him from 
his saddle. Roused to a sense of his situation, he 
recovered his seat, seized the bridle, and looked up. 
Directly in his path stood a woman, in a short scar 
let cloak, then, as now, the favourite colour of the 
Irish peasantry, leaning on a long white staff, curi 
ously carved with mysterious figures. She was 
beneath the middle height, and hideously hunch 
backed. Her hair was bright red, of extraordinary 
length, and hung down in masses nearly to the 
ground. Around her forehead was bound a cinc 
ture of beads, woven into singular devices, which 
confined a sort of turban of green silk. Her com 
plexion was bronzed by exposure, but evidently 
once had been fair. Her features were stern and al 
most 'masculine, yet bearing traces of feminine 
beauty : the straight forehead, contracted by a rigid 
frown ; the aquiline nose ; the arched brow, and 
thin, well-shaped lips, with a roundly turned chin, 


were all, evidently, wrecks of what had once been 
beautiful. Her eye was large, full, and clear, and 
would still have been handsome but for a lurking 
devil in it. But the unsightly deformity of her 
person, if natural, must always have served to ren 
der nugatory any charm of countenance ; and, what 
ever might have been her attractions in youth, her 
present appearance was calculated to excite only 
feelings of mingled fear and disgust. The young 
man gazed at her a moment as she stood in his 
path, and then, in a tone that was in unison with 
his present humour, said fiercely, 

" Curses light on thee, hag ! Stand from my 
path, or I will ride over thee, and trample thy hid 
eous carcass with my horse's hoofs." 

"Robert Lester, as men call thee," she said, 
without changing her position, in a cold, hard 
voice, and with a malicious laugh, " thou hast been 
crossed in thy will, and art out of temper. Dost 
wish revenge ?" 

" Woman, avaunt ! I want none of thy counsel. 
From my path, or I will ride thee down !" 

As he spoke, the impatient horseman struck 
his spurs deep into his horse's flanks, and urged 
the animal forward ; the beast reared and plunged 
fearfully to either side, but refused to advance. 

" Ha, ha, Robert More ! If men will obey thee 
thy brute will not. He has the eye to see dangers 
that are hidden from mortal vision." 

" Witch fiend !" cried the young man, fiercely, 
" I will dismount and hurl thee from the path if 
thou bar my way farther. Stand aside and let me 
pass !" 

And a second time the infuriated rider urged the 
terrified beast forward, but was nearly unhorsed by 
his efforts to turn from the road. In an instant he 
leaped to the ground and advanced upon her. She 


smiled scornfully as he approached, caught the 
arm he extended to seize her, and held him in her 
grasp with the force of a vice. 

" Ha, ha, Robert More ! thou art defeated." 

Quick as lightning, with his other hand he drew 
from his breast a hunting-knife, and, elevating it 
above her head, said, in a cool, decided tone, 

"Elpsy, release me, or I sheath this blade in thy 
heart !" 

She fixed her dark wild eyes upon his face an 
instant, and reading aright its resolute expression, 
let go her grasp. 

" 'Tis well for thee, Elpsy," he said, returning 
the blade to his bosom ; " thou hast saved thy 
wretched life, and thy blood is not on my soul. 
Now leave the path !" he added, sternly. "By the 
cross ! ere I will be bearded thus on my own lands, 
I will command my retainers to hurl thee into the 

" Thy lands ! thy retainers ! Ha, ha, ha, Rob 
ert More ! I have in store a punishment for thee 
and for thy pride, that will repay me for all thy ar 
rogance ! Oh, how thy haughty soul will writhe ! 
how thy proud spirit will groan. ! Have I not a 
cup for thee to drink 1 Oh, have I ! Ha, ha, 

The foreboding words and wild laugh of the hag 
sunk deep into the soul of the young man. He was 
impressed by her manner as much as by her lan 
guage, and, with a changing cheek, said quickly, 

" What mean these dark words, Elpsy ?" 

" Dark ! yes, they are dark to thee now, but I 
can make them clear as the sun at noon ; ay, 
proud Robert of Lester ! they shall scorch thee ! 
wither thy soul ! cause thy heart to shrink ! thy 
neck to bow ! thy head to lie in the very dust ! Oh, 
will not the lowest slave among the vassals that 


wait thy word pity thee, when thine ears receive 
what I would reveal !" 

The wild prophetic air, the energy and taunting 
scorn with which she spoke, alarmed while it en 
raged him. 

" Madness ! Woman fiend ! monster of deform 
ity ! speak, I command thee." 

" Thou command me, Robert Lester ! Well, 
there will be a time ! Wouldst thou know what 
I have to reveal ?" she asked, fixing on him her 
scorching eyes. 

" Beware if thou art mocking my fears ! I will 
pluck thy tongue from thy throat, and fling it to my 
hounds if thou hast trifled with me !" 

"What I will tell thee will be so true, thou wilt 
indeed wish the tongue that spoke it had been 
plucked from its roots ere it had given it utterance. 
Nevertheless, the time has come for thee to hear ; 
and I may no longer delay the recital of what, for 
thy sake," she added, with a softer manner, "I 
would bear close locked in my breast to the grave. 
But," she concluded, in a lofty tone, " what is to be 
revealed must be made known, though the heav 
en's were to fall and the earth to quake. Who 
shall stay the hand of fate when once it is lifted to 
destroy ?" 

" Elpsy, 1 ' said Lester, in a deep and earnest 
voice, unable to throw off the presentiment of com 
ing evil her words had awakened, " I would believe 
thou hadst something to make known to me either 
of good or evil, though of the latter alone I know 
thou art the minister. Yet, if thou hast aught to 
say, I am ready to listen, good mother !" he added, 
in a mild and persuasive tone. 

" Robert More," she said, in a voice of super 
human softness, while the frigid and austere char 
acter of her face passed away, and her features as- 


sumed a more womanly and gentler expression ; 
" those last few words were kindly spoken, and be 
came thee : they have touched my heart for even 
Elpsy has a heart," she said, with sarcastic bitter 
ness ; " for those kind expressions I would with 
hold from thee the knowledge of the doom that 
awaits thee. But it is not for me," she added, in 
an enthusiastic voice, and with returning wildness 
of the eye ; " it is not for one like me to refuse to 
obey the decree that has gone forth against thee. 
As a mortal, I pity thee ! as a woman, I could weep 
for thee ! and as No," she interrupted herself, and 
muttered, " no, he shall not know all now ; he shall 
not learn all till my soul is on the wing ; then, then 
will it be time enough !" She then added aloud, 
" as the minister of the invisible world, I must do as 
I am commanded. Robert More, if you can bear 
to hear what I am doomed to tell, follow me !" 

" Nay, Elpsy, speak to me here." 

" Obey me !" she commanded, in an authoritative 
voice, that had a singular power over his will, and 
which he had not the ability to resist. 

Without waiting for a reply, or looking round to 
see if she were followed, she turned from the bridle 
path, and, bounding with great activity and with a 
sort of mad exhilaration of spirits over the frag 
ments of stone that lay in her way, directed her 
course towards a low door at the foot of the crum 
bling tower. He hesitated a moment, and then, 
leaving his horse cropping the long rich grass that 
grew among the ruins, followed her. She entered 
the ruin, and, guided by a dim twilight that pene 
trated through the top of the ruinous arch, led the 
way along a covered passage which ran in the di 
rection of the chancel. Its extremity was wrapped 
in total darkness. 

" Elpsy, I will follow thee no farther," he called. 


after advancing till he could no longer take a step 
safely in the impenetrable gloom that surrounded 
him, while she walked before him with a free, 
rapid, and confident pace. 

" Take the end of my staff," she said, returning 
a few steps and placing it within his reach. 

" Thy cabalistic wand, woman !" he repeated, in 
a tone of horror, recoiling from her several paces 
and crossing himself. " Avoid thee !" 

Like many among the highborn and educated of 
that day, Lester was not above the superstitious 
notions of the times, and assented to, perhaps with 
out firmly believing, the existence and power of 
sorceresses. Among the great number of these 
singular beings that about this time rose up and 
filled the minds of all men, both in Great Britain 
and the New-England colonies, with pious alarm 
and godly horror, was Elpsy More, or " Elpsy of 
the Tower," for by both of these names she was 
known, who had the reputation, above all others 
who practised the black art, of being on the most 
intimate footing with his Satanic highness. Dark 
and wild were the tales that had gone forth, and 
were repeated in hall and cot, of the supernatural 
deeds of this communer with the world of spirits. 
By the imaginations of the credulous and timid she 
was invested with powers that could belong only 
to the Creator of the universe ; and it was believed 
by all good Catholics, that every Whitsuntide the 
devil came to dine with her in the chancel of the 
old church, making a table of the marble tomb of 
Black Morris O'More ; who, as the tradition went, 
sold his soul for the love of a beautiful lady, who 
turned out to be a fiend, and on the bridal night 
flew away with him into the regions of wo. 

When Lester crossed the threshold of the gloomy 
gallery, these tales of diablerie had come crowding 


thick upon his memory, painted in their most vivid 
hues by his imagination ; and with all his daring his 
blood ran cold in his veins : nevertheless, he had 
continued to grope on until he could go no farther, 
when he called to her. As the staff she offered 
came in contact with his hand, he had shuddered 
and shrunk back, remembering how that it was 
said her crutch was given her by her master, 
who hacVcharmed it by hardening it in the fires of 
the ever-burning lake ; and that whomsoever she 
touched with it, or even pointed it to, that wore 
neither cross, bead, nor blessed relic about his neck, 
his soul would surely be lost. Lester trembled as 
these legends passed through his mind, crossed him 
self, and with great devotion muttered a paternoster. 
" Here, then, is my hand !" she said, seeing his 

" Fearful being, I will not go with thee." 
" Robert More, obey me ! There is my hand. 
It shall not harm thee," she added, in that pecu 
liar tone which held such a singular power over 
his volition. 

Without replying, he took the extended hand 
and followed her through the dark passage a few 
yards farther, when she stopped and said, 

" Heed thy footsteps ! Here are steps thou 
must go down with me." 

As she spoke she began to descend a flight of 
stone stairs into a vault beneath. He would have 
held back, but she gently and irresistibly led him 
down, when they stood upright in a damp cham 
ber, in which a faint light struggled through an 
opening in the floor of the chapel above. The 
dank, noisome atmosphere of the place, and its 
subterraneous position beneath the chancel, filled 
him with awe and fear. 

" Woman, whither have you led me ?" he asked, 


in a voice deep with the mingled emotions of sus 
picion, alarm, and resentment. 

" Into the tomb where rest the bones of Black 
Morris O'More," she answered, in a voice that 
sounded hollow and sepulchral. 

" Mother of Heaven !" he gasped, " then is my 
soul lost !" 

" Thou wilt little heed thy soul, proud youth, 
when thou hast heard my tale." 

" Be speedy with thy story, then ; for, good or 
ill befall, I will not long remain here." 

" Fear not ; thou art in no danger ! Step cau 
tiously, and I will guide thee across this chamber 
to my own house. This is only the anteroom to it. 
Ha, ha !" she laughed frightfully. " See ! I have 
grim Morris O'More to stand guard over my door." 

As she said this she struck something, which, in 
the darkness, rattled like bones suspended from the 
ceiling of the vault. 

" Sorceress !" cried he, shuddering at the sound, 
" I will go no farther." 

" Come with me, Robert More !" she said, firm 
ly ; " and see thou fall not over the tomb of Black 
Morris in the way." 

She drew him by the arm as she spoke with a 
strength far beyond his own. He felt for his hunt 
ing-knife, determined to free himself by striking 
her with it. 

" Hold !" she cried, divining his intentions ; " I 
will not harm thee. Here is my abode !" 

While speaking, she struck against the opposite 
wall with her staff, and a door flew open, exposing 
the interior of a small circular chamber receiving 
a dim light from the sky, which was seen calm 
and blue through the roofless tower above. 

" Welcome to the abode of Elpsy of the Tower !" 
she said, with irony. " 'Tis not the princely one 


thou art accustomed to, but it will serve thy pres 
ent purpose. Didst know that on thy domains 
thou hadst such a brave woodland palace ? Look 
about thee !" 

The young man entered the room with a feeling 
of relief that he no longer was in the very sepul 
chre, though still within reach, of the tomb of Black 
Morris the accursed. The apartment in which he 
now found himself originally had been constructed 
by the priests for the preservation of the sacred 
vessels of the church in times of hostile invasion of 
their domains. It was a subterranean room, situ 
ated beneath a circular tower or turret that rose at 
the southeast angle of the chapel. The tower 
once had contained three floors, one above the 
other ; the mortises for the sleepers being yet visi 
ble, ranged regularly and at equal distances around 
the inner side. The top or roof of the tower, with 
its battlement and Gothic ornaments, had long 
since fallen in ; and the floors, down even to the 
ground that formed the floor of the witch's apart 
ment and the very foundation of the tower, had 
successively decayed and disappeared. The only 
entrance to this tunnel-like turret was the door 
from the sepulchre by which he had been admit 
ted. From this vault to the chambers formerly 
above, access had been obtained by a circular stair 
way within the tower and conducting from floor to 
floor, the beds of the beams and fixtures which 
supported them still remaining in the masonry. 
The object of these once-existing upper chambers 
of the round tower is involved in mystery, though 
tradition hath given to the " three tower-chambers" 
each their own wild tale of dark superstition and 
priestly crime. 

As he stood in the vault in the bottom of the 
tower, and looked far out at the sky, it was like 


gazing upward from the bottom of a well. The 
light came in strongly at the top, but grew fainter 
and fainter as it penetrated deeper, till only a 
dim twilight reached the chamber below. He rec 
ognised the tower as the loftiest of the ruin which 
often he had made a landmark when hunting, and 
ascertained thereby his position : this discovery 
rendering him more at his ease, he turned to sur 
vey the subterranean abode which Elpsy had 

In the midst of the floor was a heap of cin 
ders, on which stood a small iron kettle, appa 
rently the only utensil she used for preparing her 
food. A stone escutcheon, broken from one of the 
tombs, served her for a seat, and a pile of fern and 
leaves for a bed. These constituted all the neces 
saries that her singular and solitary way of life 
called for. But there were other objects that at 
tracted his attention, and thrilled his blood as he 
gazed on them. Beside the door, its bones tied to 
gether with strips of deer's hide, hung a skeleton of 
great size, its ghastly jaws carefully bound up and 
grinning horribly, and its hollow, bony sockets filled 
with stag's eyes wildly staring at him. Sculls, 
cross-bones, and other hideous mementoes of the 
charnel-house were arranged along the sides of 
the walls ; while charms, amulets, and all the nu 
merous instruments of sorcery lay about. Through 
the open door he beheld the stone effigy of Black 
Morris, which had slided from its recumbent pos 
ture above his tomb by the sinking of the earth, 
standing nearly upright, staring with his stony gaze 
into the round chamber, before which swung the 
skeleton of which his tomb had been despoiled. 
The tomb itself was open, and its black sepulchral 
mouth yawned as if it would gladly receive a new 


Terrible to Lester's nerves was the trial pro 
duced by this scene. Bold and fearless as he was 
by nature, he could not suppress emotions of fear 
(the cowardice of superstition) at the situation and 
circumstances in which he had suffered himself to 
be drawn by the taunting language of a wild weird 
woman, who not only was the professed enemy of 
all mankind, but had manifested hostile feelings 
towards himself. He nevertheless resolved that, 
having adventured, he would go through with it, 
trusting, with religious faith, that all good saints 
would help him against spiritual foes ; while for pro 
tection against mortal ones, ay, even Elpsy herself, 
he trusted to his own coolness, and, if it should 
come to that, the broad sharp blade of his hunting- 
knife. Having fortified his mind with this resolve, 
he felt more confidence ; and being now in some 
degree familiarized with his situation and the 
ghastly objects around him, he turned to address 
the sorceress, who, on entering, had seated herself 
on a scull, and, with her chin buried between her 
hands, continued to fix her dark eyes upon his face 
with a mingled expression of pity and malignant 
triumph. Before he could speak she rose, and, 
laying her hand on his arm, said, in a tone between 
sadness and derision, 

" How like you my abode, my lord ?" 

" 'Tis a gloomy place." 

" Ay, and many a gloomy day have I spent in 
it. Sit ye down on that stone, Lord Lester !" she 
added, laying a peculiar emphasis upon the last 
two words ; " 'tis a knight's shield, and should be 
a fit seat for thee /" 

" Is it thus, Elpsy, you use the sculptured ar 
mour and the sepultured bones of my ancestors ?" 
he said, in an indignant tone. 

" Thy ancestors ?" she repeated, scornfully. " Sit 



thou there, Lord Lester. Dost hear, LORD Les 
ter ? Open thine ears, and drink in the title and 
style well for 'twill be the last time they will fall 
upon them." 

" Cease your mockery, woman ! Say what thou 
hast to say, and quickly." 

" Listen !" she said, seating herself on a scull op 
posite to him, while a struggle between sympathy 
and malicious exultation was visible on her features. 
" Young, and fair, and brave to look upon withal !" 
she said, muttering to herself, and gazing on him 
steadfastly and thoughtfully ; " a coronet would 
grace that brow even as if 'twere born to it. Rob 
ert Lester, or Robert More, for men call thee both," 
she said aloud, bending her face towards him, and 
speaking in an impressive manner, " now listen to 
the tale I have in store for thee- Fix thine eye 
upon me that I may see it blench as I go on. Oh ! 
it's a tale for a Christmas eve, I trow !" 

She was silent a few seconds, as if sending her 
thoughts back through the past ; then, in a low 
voice, which rose or fell, was wild or sad, slow or 
rapid, as her subject moved her, she began : 

" Eighteen long years ago there dwelt by the 
seaside a poor fisherman, honest, hard labouring in 
his vocation, but contented with his lot, never hav 
ing known better. He was a widower, but had an 
only daughter, his sole companion, and the enly 
link that bound him to his kind. This child grew 
up to be a tall and comely maiden. Her eyes were 
of the rich brown hue of the ripe chestnut. Her 
hairj soft as the floss of Florence, was a fair brown ; 
but when the winds that came off the sea would 
toss it in the sunlight, there played over it a blaze 
of gold. It never had known confinement, but 
floated like a sunset cloud about her head." 

" What has this to do with thy tale ?" demanded 

Lester, impatiently. 

i '-.-- , 


" Listen !" she said, calmly but firmly ; her 
features, as her thoughts seemed to dwell pleasu 
rably on the beauty of the maiden, becoming more 
humanized, while her voice modulated and har 
monized with the words she uttered. "This fair 
maid grew up, unknowing and unknown ; bud 
ding and blooming like a lone flower by the sea 
side. Her laugh was merry as the carol of the 
glad lark as it soars and sings ; her spirits were 
light as the sparkling foam of the summer's sea ; 
her heart as pure as the moonbeam that slept on 
the wave. Her happiness was in her father's smile 
and in his paternal love ; and, besides her little cot, 
and the wide sea which she loved, and the tall cliff 
that towered above her home, she knew not, until 
she had entered her eighteenth year, that there was 
any other world. Alas, for that maiden, that she 
had not remained in ignorance ! Alas, for her, that 
her heart was not as cold as the moonbeam it re 
sembled in its purity ! One black and stormy night, 
a voice, shouting for aid, reached the ears of the 
old fisherman and his child, heard above the howl- 
ings of wind and roaring of the angry deep. 

" ' Rise, my child !' he cried, ' there is life in 

" In a few moments they were by the seaside, 
and by flashes of lightning beheld a small bark 
driving towards the shore before the tempest. On 
its prow stood a group of men, who waved their 
arms wildly as the lightning showed to them the 
forms of the old man and his daughter standing on 
the beach, and shouted for help. Swift and irre 
sistible, like an affrighted courser, the fatal vessel 
drove onward, now lifted high on a surge, now plun 
ging into a yawning chasm, till at length, borne to 
a great height on a wave, she trembled an instant 
on its top, and then, descending like an arrow, 


struck against the bottom and was dashed to 
pieces. Wild, fearful, unearthly was the shriek 
that pierced the ears of the fisherman and his child ! 
They looked where, a moment before, it went ca 
reering over the foaming billows, and the lightning 
gleamed only upon fragments of the wreck, human 
heads, and wildly waving arms. One solitary cry 
rent the air after she struck, and then naught but 
the shriek of the winds, like a human wail, and the 
tumult of the sea as it lashed the shore in its fury, 
was to be heard." 

" What has this to do with the tale I came hith 
er to learn ?" asked the youth, impatiently ; never 
theless, had he listened to her with interest, deeply 
impressed by the energy of her voice and manner, 
as she warmed in her narrative. 

" Much," she said, quietly. " Listen ! The fish 
erman, with his hair streaming in the wind, and his 
garments wet with the spray, long traversed the 
beach to see if human life had been cast on shore. 
He was accompanied by his daughter, who, with 
her golden locks glancing in the lightning, her lofty 
forehead calm and firm with womanly energy, and 
her fair young face lighted up with the noble spirit 
that inspired her to the task, looked like some 
bright spirit of peace that had come to stay the 
tempest. They watched by that lonely shore till 
the dawn broke, when, by its first faint glimmer, 
the maiden discovered an object like a human 
form lying on the edge of the sea beside a rock, 
whither it had been tossed by the stormy waves. 
With a cry between hope and mistrust she sprang 
fearlessly towards the object for, in the stern du 
ties of humanity to its suffering kind, fear nor false 
delicacy have no place, and, if they had, that maid 
en was too good, too ignorant of life to know either. 
As she came close to it, she saw that it was the 


body of a man. She placed her hand upon his 
temples. They were warm. He was alive ! Alas, 
far better would it have been for her had he been 
cold as the stone beside which he lay ! His pulse 
was very faint ; she could just feel it throb like a 
fine chord vibrating against her finger. He was 
lying upon his side naturally, like one in sleep. It 
was not yet light enough to see whether he was 
young or old, but she knew, from the soft smooth 
skin of his brow, that many winters of manhood had 
not passed over his head. With her aid her father 
bore him to their hut, and, after bathing his forehead 
and hands in spirits, and applying for his restora 
tion the few but effective means known to those 
whose lives are passed on the sea, he opened his 
eyes, and, after a little while, was able to sit up. 
After having waited a few moments to recall his 
faculties, he seemed to have become conscious of 
his situation, and the fatal cause which led to it : 
with a smile of gratitude he looked up, and, glan 
cing first at the father and then at the daughter, 
acknowledged, in a voice and with a look that 
thrilled to the heart of the poor maiden, how much 
he owed them for their exertions in saving his life." 

" This is a long story, Elpsy, and, methinks, liU 
tie to the purpose !" interrupted Lester. 

" Listen ! His language was courteous, and his 
speech addressed alone to her : his manner was 
also gentle, and such as would please a maiden. 
He got up and walked to the window to look out 
upon the beach, which was strewn with fragments 
of the wreck ; and, as he did so, she was struck 
with his noble figure, and proud, soldierly air; and 
the soft sadness that came over his face, as he sur 
veyed the melancholy relics of his gallant vessel, 
touched her heart. He was not above thirty years 
of age, with a high, fair brow, and a cheek, though 


sunburnt, bright as a child's. His hair was of 
a silvery hue, that harmonized with his complex 
ion, and flowed long and in shining waves about 
his shoulders. His eyes were as blue as if they 
had been mirrors to reflect the summer's sky, and, 
as she met them, were tender, yet ardent, in their 
expression. His smile was fascinating, and his 
rich voice was full of melody and most manly in 
its tones. Poor fisher's daughter ! She gazed on 
him bewildered with love, and lost her heart ere 
she scarce knew she possessed one ! He turned 
away from the window, and his eyes met the fer 
vent gaze of the maiden. She blushed ; her eye 
lids fell ; her young bosom heaved tumultuously, 
and the worldly-wise stranger read her heart at a 

" The evening of that day (for hour after hour did 
he linger beneath the fisherman's lowly roof) they 
sat together in the door of her cot. He took her 
hand, and told her, in a low, gentle voice, how he 
had sailed homeward from Spain, where he had 
been fighting as a soldier; and how, with his com 
panions, he had been, the last night, driven by the 
tempest on that inhospitable shore when within five 
leagues of his destination ; and how that he had 
lost much treasure by the shipwreck, but that her 
presence had made him forget all he had lost; 
that her smile repaid him for all that he had suf 
fered. Poor maiden ! The hours wore away, yet 
they seemed minutes to her ; the stars came out, 
and the tardy moon rose ! He discoursed to her 
of love, and she listened ! Her ears drank in his 
words ! Her heart was no longer her own. He 
told her that he loved her, and received her in 
genuous confession in return. He then told her 
of a brave tower, that stood amid broad lands five 
leagues northward, which owned him as master, 


and this, he said, he would make her the mistress 
of if she would become his bride. She believed 
and promised. He then said he must leave her, 
but would return in a few days in a fair ship, and 
claim its fulfilment. The next morning he took his 
departure. She wept sorely in his arms when he 
left her. But, ere her father, who had been pursu 
ing his daily toil on the deep, returned, she had 
dried up her tears and clothed her face with smiles 
to meet him, lest her sorrow should make him sad. 
She did not tell him of her love or the promise of 
the stranger : it was the first time she had harbour 
ed a secret in her guileless heart. She was silent 
from maidenly modesty ; for, with the love that had 
got into her heart, had entered many new feelings 
hitherto unknown to her. 

" Sad and heavy passed the days, when one even 
ing, as she stood upon the beach looking, now south 
ward for the light skiff of her father, and, much of- 
tener, northward for the expected bark of her lover, 
she saw the evening sun glancing on a white sail 
that appeared coming round a promontory a league 
distant to the north. It bent its course towards the 
beach. Her heart fluttered. She knew not what 
to do for joy ; and, in her impatience, could have 
flown along the white sand to meet it ! Steadily it 
bore down towards her. She now forgot to look 
for the little skiff of her father ; her eyes were 
fixed alone on the coming bark ! It approached 
nearer and nearer. She could see forms on the 
deck. As it came closer, high on the poop, stand 
ing alone like its master spirit, she discovered her 
lover. He waved his hand to her, and, as she an 
swered it, the vessel came to ; a boat was launched, 
and he sprang into it. A few strokes of the oar 
sent it to the land, and, leaping out, the handsome 
stranger clasped the lovely maiden in his arms. 


" ' Come, gentle maid,' he said, in accents of love ; 
come and be the bride of my home and heart.' 

" ' Not without my father !' she said, looking anx-r 
iously to see if she could descry his boat. 

" ' Think not of him now,' said he ; 'he shall 
soon come, and cheer with his presence your new 

" ' He will grieve when he finds I have left him,' 
she said, with filial tenderness. ' I cannot go.' 

" ' He shall, ere long, see you again,' he said, 
gently leading her along ; ' come, dearest, fly with 
me to the abode I have prepared for you. This 
shall be our bridal night !' 

" The maiden suffered herself to be borne to the 
waiting bark ; its sails were trimmed to the breeze, 
and swiftly it cut its way through the crested bi! T 
lows towards the direction from which it came." 

" Hast done ?' asked the impatient Lester. 

" Hear me !" said Elpsy, in a stern tone. " The 
morning's sun shone upon a dark square tower, 
with a single wing that looked upon the sea, and 
his beams penetrated a stained lattice, and fell in 
brilliant and varied dies on the floor of a chamber 
within it. In that chamber sat the fisher's daugh 
ter ; and the fair-locked stranger was bending over 
her as she sat by the window, dallying with her 
golden tresses. The night upon the sea had been 
her bridal night ! But, alas ! unblessed by priest, 
unmarked by altar, or prayer, or vow ! She was 
neither bride nor maid." 

Here the witch's voice trembled with emotion, 
while her eyes grew rigid, and her brow became 
gloomy and fearful to look upon. 

"Who did this maiden this foul wrong?" asked 
the youth, with a flashing eye. 

" Hurtel of the Red-Hand !'< 

" fla ! that rebel Irish chief, who, to save his 


head, fled to the Colonies, and who, for his blood 
thirsty spirit, got the title of The Red-Hand ]' " 
demanded Lester, with interest. 
" The same." 

" I would have sworn it ! Go on." 
She smiled grimly, and then continued : 
" For many days he was devoted to his victim ; 
but amused her, when she besought him to heal 
her wounded honour by the words of the holy mass 
of marriage, with idle excuses ; and so she was put 
off from day to day, till she found there was life 
within her bosom, and that she was about to be 
come a wedless mother. 

" Gradually he got to neglect her, and daily grew 
more and more estranged from her ; and at length, 
heading a secret conspiracy, his tower became the 
rendezvous of insurgent leaders, and day and night 
rung with bacchanalian revels. Lonely she sat, 
evening after evening, in her solitary chamber, with 
her face resting on her hand, and her eyes looking 
south over the sea ; her thoughts winging their way 
to her lowly cot and its humble occupant, who, per 
haps, mourned his daughter as having perished in 
the deep. 

" At length she became a mother. He was away 
at the time, at the head of a party of conspira 
tors bound on an expedition of treason and blood 
shed. On the third day afterward he returned. 
She heard the tramp of horses, and with hurried 
joy opening the lattice for, notwithstanding his 
neglect, she loved him still saw him riding rapid 
ly towards the tower, followed only by a single 
rider, and leading by the rein a palfrey, on which 
was mounted a beautiful lady ; she saw that her 
head drooped, that she appeared sick and faint, and 
that he supported her by passing one arm about her 
waist. A pang of jealousy, the first she had ever 


known, shot through her bosom. They reined up 
beneath the window : she saw him take her in his 
arms from the saddle, and bear her within the tow 
er. Then, with surprise, she heard him, in a loud 
tone, give commands for all the defences of the 
castle to be put up, as if he expected to encoun 
ter a siege. She returned again to her couch faint 
and sick at heart, and waited his appearance. An 
hour elapsed ere he came, and painful were the 
thoughts that agitated her bosom. When at length 
she heard his footsteps, she rose to meet him with 
a smile of love, with her infant extended in her 
arms. His dress was disordered and bloody, as if 
he was just from conflict ; and she at once saw, 
for affection is quick and suspicious ever, that his 
brow was dark and angry. 

"'Ha!' he cried, scornfully, 'what have we 
here ?' 

'* ' The pledge of your former love,' she said, with 
gentle reproof, offering it to his arms. 

"'By the head of St. Peter!' he exclaimed, 
pushing her rudely away, and fixing upon her a 
terrible look (which but one other living can give," 
said Elpsy, with peculiar emphasis, fixing her gaze 
upon Lester), " ' I brought thee not hither to breed 
brats ! Fling it from the window !' 
. " And, without deigning to cast a glance upon it, 
he strode across the chamber, while, with a cry of 
pain and mortal anguish, she sunk down upon the 
floor. He turned and looked back at her for a few 
seconds, and then said fiercely, 

" ' Rise, woman ! I have brought a lady hither 
who will need thy services ere the dawn. Up, I 
say. Thou shall be her servant if I bid thee. 
Such a station will best suit thy birth. Up, or I 
will tear thy brat from thee and cast it from the 


" She clung convulsively to her babe and rose 
from the ground. But was she not changed in that 
little while, Robert More ? Was not her deep love 
turned into deep hate ? Ay ! as if by the wave of 
a wand her soul was changed, and she became a 
different being. 'Tis but a step from the deepest 
love to the deepest hate in woman's heart; when, 
she feels that she is deliberately injured. Then 
lightning is not quicker than the change hell not 
deeper than her hate ! She rose from the floor an 
other creature. He saw the alteration in her coun 
tenance, and, for a moment, his guilty spirit cow 
ered. But Satan helped him to banish all feeling 
from his breast, and he waved her sternly away, 

" ' Whither ?' she asked, meeting his fierce gaze 
with a cool glance of contempt. 

" ' To the chamber opening from the hall,' he" 
said, in a tone of less authority, dropping his eyea 
before her steady look. 

" As he went out he muttered to himself, but the* 
mother's open ears caught the meaning of the words, 

" ' That child shall die !' 

" She shuddered, but spoke not : clasping hef 
child to her bosom after he had left her, she tottered 
from the room and descended to the hall. Enter 
ing the apartment designated, she there beheld the 
lady whom she had seen ride up to the tower. 
She was reclining on a couch, and appeared to be 
overpowered by fatigue and grief. She was very 
lovely, with fine dark eyes that were filled with 
tears, and raven hair that was spread dishevelled 
over her pillow. She turned her face as the door 
opened, and her countenance brightened with hope 
as she saw the approach of one of her own sex. 
The young mother advanced to the couch and of 
fered her consolation. The lady glanced at the 
swaddled infant, and asked if she were the wife of 
'Hurtel of the Red-Hand.' 


" ' No,' was the sad, yet stern, reply. 

" The lady ceased to inquire further, and, being 
in her turn asked how she came there, said that she 
was a noble lady and a wife." 

" A noble lady !" repeated Lester, with interest. 

"Now that there is high blood spoken of, you 
can feel an interest in my story," she said, sarcas 
tically. " Listen ! She told how her lord had gone 
that morning at the head of a party of gentlemen 
to attack a strong position of the insurgents, when, 
anxious and impatient for intelligence, she rode out, 
accompanied by several servants, nearly a league 
from her castle, in hopes of meeting him or a mes 
senger. She got no tidings of him, and was on her 
return, when one overtook her with a message from 
her lord, saying that he had gained a signal victory 
over the conspirators, who were totally routed with 
great slaughter, and that their chief, Hurtel of the 
Red-Hand, had barely escaped with his life." 

" A battle with conspirators, and defeat of Hur 
tel of the Red-Hand. By Heaven ! woman, my 
father once fought and conquered this same chief ! 
Ha your looks ! what speak was it was she 
no go on, it cannot be !" 

The sorceress smiled mysteriously and contin 

" ' I had hardly received this joyful news,' she 
said, 'when three horsemen, riding at full speed, 
came spurring behind us. They were passing us, 
when one of them, whom I recognised as Hurtel 
of the Red-Hand, turned in his saddle as he dashed 
by, and, looking at me earnestly, exclaimed, 

" ' " The countess, by all that's fortunate ! This 
will help redeem the day's reverses, and give me a 
chance for my head !" 

" ' As he spoke he threw himself, with his com 
pany, sword in hand, upon my servants, and, after 


a brief struggle, in which he lost one of his party, 
either slew or dispersed them ; and then, ere I had 
time to collect my thoughts, he seized the rein of 
my palfrey and conveyed me hither. His object 
must be either ransom, or, more probably, the hope 
of being able, with me in his power, to make his 
own terms with the victorious party, of which my 
noble lord is captain. You, who have so recently 
become a mother, will sympathize with me at this 

" I will briefly pass over the events that follow 
ed," continued Elpsy. " Before dawn the Lady Les 
ter was prematurely delivered of a male child ; a 
fine, black-eyed boy, healthy and robust; but, 
through weakness and mental anxiety, she soon 
after became insensible, and neither caressed nor 
opened her eyes to look upon it. At sunrise the 
insurgent chief entered the chamber, and demanded 
which was the fisher's brat. There was an expres 
sion upon his face and a dark look in his eye that 
boded ill. With a convulsive shudder the mother 
shrunk from his gaze and flew to the bed, on the 
foot of which slept the two infants. She was just 
about to clasp her own to her heart, with the resolu 
tion to defend it with her life, when suddenly she 
checked the maternal impulse, and, turning to him, 
said, as if her conduct would depend upon his re- 


" ' What would you do with it ?' 

" ' Give it me !' he demanded, more fiercely, ' or 
I will slay both thee and thy young one.' 

" And he approached her menacingly as he spoke. 

" She once more bent over the babes ! She dared 
not disobey : yet a mother's love called loudly at her 
heart. Her babe's life was all in all to her. It 
must be saved ! She thought only of saving it ! 

" ' I wait !' he said, sternly. 

VOL. I. N 


" Instinctively she caught up the babe of the no 
ble lady and placed it in his arms. 

" ' 'Tis here ! But spare, oh, spare it !' she 
cried, as he strode from the chamber with it in his 
rude grasp. 

" Her heart smote her for what she had done. 
Leaving behind her her own babe, which she had 
saved by this maternal deception, she followed, 
clinging to him, and entreating him to spare the in 
nocent. He heeded her not, but advanced rapidly 
to a balcony that overhung the water thirty feet 
above it, and, heedless of her cries, cast it over. 
She sprang forward, and saw that the swaddling 
robe in which it was wrapped had caught the point 
of a sharp rock, and that it hung suspended by it 
within a foot of the water. With a cry of joy she 
had nearly sprung off to save the babe, when, 
seeing that, by a bold leap from the balustrade, 
she could reach a projecting rock, from which she 
could clamber down to the water, she prepared to 
take it. But her exclamation caused him to turn 
back ; and seeing the fall of the child had been so 
singularly arrested, and that she was about to at 
tempt its rescue, he grew black with rage, and 
with a violent blow, as she was in the act of spring 
ing to the rock, struck her from the balcony into 
the sea. As she fell she caught by the edges of 
the cliff, and, in some degree, broke her fall, but, 
nevertheless, descended heavily into the water. It 
was not deep, and she recovered her feet, caught 
the babe in her arms, and, staggering to a sandy 
part of the shore, sunk down insensible. When 
she recovered her senses the sun was high in the 
heavens. She attempted to rise, but found she 
was deeply bruised, and that her spine was much 
injured by striking against the rock in her descent. 
She looked up to the balcony. It was closed, and 


all was silent. It was evident that the murderer, 
supposing the fall fatal, had not the courage to 
watch her descent, and had retired. 

" She immediately resolved not to enter the castle 
again. With her soul turned to bitterness, burning 
with vengeance against the author of her wrongs, 
and suffering with pain, she prepared to seek, with 
the infant she held in her arms, her father's cot. 
For her own babe she had no fears. She knew 
that it would ever be regarded as that to which 
the lady had given birth. It was fifteen miles to 
her native hut ; yet weary, suffering, ill, she drag 
ged herself thither by the evening of the second 
day. Her father, who had long mourned her dead, 
met her with open arms. He pitied and nursed 
her for many long months till she recovered her 
health ; but her beauty of form was gone for ever. 
Her soul grew dark with her woes ; vengeance 
took the place of love in her heart towards him 
who had so basely wronged her ; and bitterness 
against all her species rankled in her breast, and 
hourly grew deeper and deeper. Her senses at 
length became unsteady. She grew restless and 
moody, and, after two years abode with her father, 
she wandered forth, leaving with him the boy, and 
never more returned to her natal roof. She sought 
a wild home in the vicinity of her own son, where 
she could daily see him, watch with pride his 
growth, and even speak with him unknown and 
unsuspected. But when, as he increased in years 
and stature, he began to look like his father, she 
began to hate him too, though, alas ! it cost her 
many a pang to do so. 

" She now learned, that on the evening of the day 
on which she had been hurled from the balcony, 
the husband of the lady, followed by fifty armed 
men, surrounded the tower and demanded her sur- 


render of her captor. He replied that he would 
give her up on two conditions : first, that his 
lands should not be confiscated : secondly, that he 
should be permitted to ride forth, wherever he 
would, unmolested; which terms the noble lord 
promised should be complied with if his lady 
should say she had received no insult at his hands ; 
and if, further, he would bind himself to quit the 
realm within nine days thereafter. To this he as 
sented. The gates were shortly after thrown open, 
and, mounted on the blood -bay charger which he 
always rode, he paced forth from his stronghold, 
passed slowly and sternly through the lines of be 
siegers, and, after trotting deliberately till he had got 
a great ways beyond them, put spurs to his horse 
and rode off, no man knew whither : though there 
is one knows," she added, mysteriously, as if allu 
ding to herself, " that within nine days he was on 
the sea, bound to the New World. 

".The noble lord took possession of the tower, 
and joyfully embraced his lady, and thanked her, 
saying, that ' notwithstanding she had been a pris 
oner, she had not forgotten to make him a father ;' 
and he took up and kissed the babe as if it had 
been his own flesh and blood, instead of sharing the 
mingled current that flowed in the veins of Hurtel 
of the Red-Hand and the fisher's daughter ; and 
from thenceforward he took him home and made 
him the heir of his house. A little after that this 
brave lord fell in the wars, nor ever knew he the 
truth to his last dying breath. Thus ends my story, 
Lord Robert of Lester ! Who, think you, was this 
noble lord and lady ?" 

The young man had listened to the latter part of 
her narration with thrilling attention. As she was 
drawing to the conclusion, he sprang from his feet, 
and laid a hand on either shoulder of the narrator, 


and looked steadily into her eyes, as if he would 
read there the dreadful secret he anticipated, yet 
dared not meet. He listened to each word that 
fell from her lips with the most absorbing and 
painful interest his lips parted his eyes starting 
from their sockets his face convulsed, and brought 
close to hers his fingers almost buried in the flesh 
of her shoulders !' When, at the conclusion, she 
put the sarcastic question to him, which he trembled 
lest he could too well answer, his hands stole from 
her shoulders and suddenly fastened upon her 

" Woman ! sorceress ! die !" he hoarsely whis 
pered, through his clinched teeth, with terrible 

She freed herself from his grasp with an extra 
ordinary effort, and flung him from her, laughing 
loudly and wildly ! 

" Ha, ha, ha ! Robert of Lester! Does my story 
please thee, my lord ! my retainers ! my domains /" 

He looked at her for a moment with appalling 
calmness, and then, approaching her, said, in an 
even tone, but in a hollow voice that was horrible 
to hear, 

" Woman or demon, tell me truly, who was this 
noble lady who gave birth to a son?" 

" Elizabeth of Lester, the ' Dark Lady of the 
Rock,' " was the firm reply. 

" Was this change of infants surely made ?" he 
asked, in the same tone. 

" I have said it." 

" And what became of her child ?" 

" 'Twas left with the fisherman." 

" Does he now live ?" he asked, with sudden in 

"He does!" 

As a fisher's lad ?" 



" He follows the craft of him who reared him." 

" On the beach beneath Castle Cor ?" 

"You have said." 

A strange expression, too complicated to analyze, 
passed across his features. But he continued with 
the same awful calmness : 

" The woman the daughter what became of 

" Thou wilt know hereafter." 

" And her own boy ha ! was it a boy ?" he ask 
ed, suddenly. 

" It was." 

"He was taken home by my by Lord Les 


" Have they had no children since, woman ?" 

" None, ever, save him who was born beneath 
the roof of ' Hurtel of the Red-Hand.' " 

" And this infant this bastard child this low 
born boy, grew up within the halls of Castle More 
as its liege lord ?" 

" He did !" 

" And that boy stands before you ?" 

" He does !" 

His calmness was appalling to witness. She 
shrunk from looking him in the face, and cowered 
before the light of his eyes. 

" Mysterious woman ! how thou earnest by the 
knowledge of these things I know not. I believe 
thou hast spoken truth ; thy tale hangs too well to 
gether for malice to invent." 

He struggled with strong emotion. His brow 
darkened, his face worked convulsively. At last 
he seemed to have resolved on a settled purpose. 

" Who knows this hellish secret besides thy 
self?" he asked, his penetrating glance resting on 
Jier face. 


" None but thee," she said, meeting his eye with 
a wary look, as if anticipating danger from the tone 
of his voice. 

"To every human eye, then, but thine, I am 
Lord of Lester ?" 

" Who of mortal mould should suspect thee to 
be other than he, when she who bore thee not be 
lieves thee to be the fruit of her womb." 
Thou wilt swear this ?" 

1 1 say it." 

' 'Tis enough. Does this fisher's boy know the 
secret of his birth ?" 
; No!" 

Does the old man ?" 
: No !" 

: Thou wilt swear it ?" 
I say it." 

1 'Tis well, woman ! Thou shall die !" 

As he spoke he drew from his breast his hunting 
knife and sprang upon her. She detected the mo 
mentary lighting up of his eye ere he made the 
spring, and alertly avoided the blow by leaping 
through the door : he fell forward, and the blade 
shivered against the stone sides of the tower. 

With a laugh of derision she fled along the pas 
sage pursued by him. Her voice and also her 
footsteps ceased as he reached the steps leading 
upward from the tomb, and, without any sound to 
guide him, he groped his way along the gallery. 
At length he approached the light; but, although 
he could see through the door out into the forest, 
she was nowhere visible ! After vainly searching 
every part of the ruin, he abandoned the attempt, 
remounted his horse, and spurred towards Castle 



" Oh God ! how changed my nature with all this ! 
I, that had been all love and tenderness 
The truest and most gentle heart till now 
That ever beat grew suddenly a devil !" 

Lord Ivan and his Daughter. 

WHAT pen can portray, what language describe 
the feelings of the haughty Lester, as he rode at 
furious speed towards Castle More ? He could 
neither think nor reflect ! His thoughts were con 
fused and tempestuous. He could not realize that 
he had actually listened to the accursed tale with 
his own ears. He felt rather as if he had passed 
through some dreadful dream, and the idea flashed 
on his mind that she had thrown a dark spell upon 
his senses, and that the whole was an illusion, and 
altogether the result of her art. 

By degrees his thoughts became more settled 
and run in a direct channel. He checked his head 
long speed and began to reflect : to recall, word by 
word, the narrative of Elpsy; weigh each sen 
tence ; match fact with fact ; each circumstance 
with its fellow; and trace the unbroken thread to 
the last damning proof. The result was irresisti 
ble. A thousand circumstances to corroborate the 
tale of infamy rose like phantoms to his shrinking 

He remembered how, in childhood, a neighbour 
ing baron, who had been out against the insurgents, 
playfully laid his hand upon his head, and told him 
he looked so much like Hurtel of the Red-Hand 
that he must take good care, when he became a 


man, he did not lose his head for the likeness : he 
remembered, too, how his childish spirit took fire 
at the similitude, and that he resented the insult 
with a blow ! He further called to mind how, la 
ter in life, the more aged country people, in passing 
him, would shake their heads significantly ; and of 
ten the whispered words, " Hurtel of the Red- 
Hand," would reach his ears. He recollected, 
also, how Lady Lester (alas ! no longer, if this 
tale were proved true, to be regarded as his mother, 
yet whom he had loved hitherto with the intensest 
filial affection) had reproved him in his angry 
moods, and forbade him to frown so like Hurtel 
of the Red-Hand. He called to mind, too, how 
that, in childhood (unthought- of again till too faith 
ful memory brought it back), it had more than once 
reached his ears through the menials, that Lady 
Lester, in her youthful days, had been made a 
prisoner in some old castle by a rebel chief; and 
he could remember he had listened with childish 
interest to its recital as to a tale of enchanted cas 
tles and cruel giants. Now he could invest it with 
a too vivid reality ! He had heard, also, he knew 
not how, and what, at the time, left no distinct im 
pression on his mind, a scandal which said that 
Lady Lester did penance for unfaithfulness in her 
early marriage days : this cottage gossip he could 
now easily trace to her imprisonment by could he 
speak it ? his father He, too, had been twice 
called by spirited peasants, who, on certain occa 
sions, had resented his arbitrary will a bastard ! 

All these things rushed to his mind. There was 
something in it beyond mere idle gossip some 
thing independent of mere accident ! The tale he 
had listened to was to him a key to the whole. 
The inference was overpowering ! It was as plain 
to his mind as the noonday sun, that the story he 


had heard from the lips of Elpsy was founded in 

" 'Tis true ! 'tis true ! 'tis TRDE !" he groaned, 
covering his face with his hands. 

Oh, was not this an appalling and harrowing re 
flection for a proud spirit like his ? Was it not a 
bitter, bitter cup that was presented to his lips ? 
Alas, how cruelly barbed and how skilfully direct 
ed how fatally sent, was the shaft of inexorable 
fate ! It pierced the spot where alone it could 
penetrate ; where its wound would be deepest, and 
the smart the keenest. Struck down from its 
high seat to the very ground was that pride of 
birth which constituted the basis of his character ; 
and withered, dead, bruised in the dust lay the 
haughtiness of spirit, which, springing from that 
soil, had flourished like the green bay-tree. 

" Not only lowborn I could bear that, I could 
bear that ! but, oh God ! a bastard ! Mercy ! mer 
cy ! mercy !" 

He hid his face as he gave utterance to these 
words, and sobbed audibly. He gave way for a 
few moments to the full tide of his strong and af 
flicting grief in the most agonizing manner ! His 
soul was rent ! his heart was broken ! and, alto 
gether, he presented a picture of moral desolation 
and mental wretchedness Uiat was appalling to con 
template. What thoughts must then have passed 
through his mind and wrung his proud soul ! The 
reflection that he must abandon all his plans and 
hopes as Lord of Lester ; lake leave of the luxuries 
to which he had been accustomed ; descend from 
the rank of a noble to that of a peasant ; be called 
" fellow" by the lowest hind ; bear the scorn of the 
highborn and the jeers of the low ; and, most of 
all, that he must for ever abandon, without hope, 
the love of Kate Bellamont, filled him with wo 
such as the heart of man hath seldom known. 


" And need I forfeit all these ?" he exclaimed, 
suddenly checking the current of his grief, his fea 
tures lighting up at the same time with guilty ex 
ultation, and assuming an expression of deep deter 
mination ; " need I make this sacrifice ? May I not 
still be Lord of Lester ?" he cried, rising in his 
stirrups and almost shouting with the force of his 
thoughts. "Ay, and will I! Ay, and will I! 
'Tis but to silence, either with gold or true steel, 
this beldame, who is the sole depositary of the 
secret of my birth !" 

For a moment after giving utterance to this 
guilty idea he rode silently along ; his honourable 
nature and his inflexible pride both having instantly 
risen at the criminal suggestion, and revolted at a 
deception so vast. But there were two strong mo 
tives which threatened to weigh down these better 
promptings, though honour pointed to the course 
he should alone pursue. He could not bear his 
proud spirit could never brook, that the despised 
fisher's lad the humble, low-nurtured peasant 
for such he was, notwithstanding his noble birth, 
should stand in his place, and he himself oh, it was 
madness to think of it sink into the fisher's boy ! 

" No ! perish honour perish truth perish all 
that is noble or virtuous in my nature first !" he 
cried, with the reckless decision of one who has re 
solved to sustain wrong at the expense of right. 

There was a second motive, the love of Kate 
Bellamont ! Should he resign her for ever ? Could 
he endure the scornful disdain with which he be 
lieved she would regard him? Above all, could 
he bear to have the handsome fisher's lad, whom 
he already looked upon, in some sort, in the light of 
a rival, sue successfully as Lord of Lester for her 
hand ? Could he endure all this and be human ? 
Could he resign all to become what he dared not 
contemplate, and live ? 


" No !" he cried, vehemently, " away with all jus 
tice and truth ! let my heart be wrapped in a mesh 
of falsehoods first ! But need there be falsehood ? 
Silence, silence will effect it. Is there injustice 
when the victim is ignorant of his rights ?" he ask 
ed, mentally, as if he were arguing with his own 
soul. " Yes, most foul ! and silence will be a liv 
ing tongue to torture me a never-ending falsehood 
to degrade and will cast over the soul a night that 
can never know a dawn ! Shall I incur this load 
of guilt? Will what I gain by the purchase repay 
me for the sacrifice of truth and honesty ? Shall I 
not even be happier, ay, and more noble, as the 
poor fisher's lad, having done justice, than as Lord 
of Lester and Castle More, convicted at my soul's 
tribunal of guilt, and knowing who and what I am ?" 

Such was the train of reasoning that insensibly 
passed through his mind, and to which he gave ut 
terance at this extraordinary crisis of his fate, and 
which promised to overthrow his former criminal 

- " But should I do as my better nature prompts," 
he continued, after galloping forward a few mo 
ments, reining up and pursuing his former train 
of reasoning, " I need not be compelled to take 
the place of this Lester in his fishing hut, nor 
need I to remain within the atmosphere of Castle 
More, to meet the scorn of the noble, the insults 
of the lowborn. The world is all before me ; I 
have a ready spirit, and a hand to sustain it, and 
can carve my own way through it ; and with hon 
our, too ! Ay, I may yet win a name with the no 
blest born !" 

Suddenly in the midst of this expression of his 
laudable and honourable purpose he stopped ; a 
gleam of terrible fire shot from his eyes, while his 
face glowed with crimson shame. 


" Ha, ha, ha ! honour ! Ha, ha, ha,! a name ! 
I had forgot," he repeated, with an accent bitter, 
sarcastic, and scornful beyond expression, yet with 
a wretched look of hopeless despair and misery; 
" what has a bastard to do with honour ? What 
is it to him ? I had forgotten I was more than 
lowborn ! I'faith, 'twas well thought of ! So all 
my lofty feelings go for nothing." His manner now 
changed, and his voice rang with passion. " What 
have / to do with lofty aspirations, with honour, 
or a name among men ? Am I not branded with in 
famy? infamous by birth; attainted by my father's 
yes, for I will acknowledge him my father's 
blood ! base through my mother's ! What have I 
to do with honour ? 'Tis not for me. I know 
it not. Henceforward I will forget its sound and 
meaning. What have I to do with honour ? Ha, 
ha, ha ! A name ? Yes, I will win a name ; 1 will 
show myself the true son of Hurtel of the Red- 
Hand. He shall not be ashamed of his blood. 
No, no ! I will win a name that, be he on earth or 
in hell, shall make him smile and own me as bone 
of his bone and flesh of his flesh." 

The scornful energy, fierceness of spirit, and 
stern determination with which this guilty resolu 
tion was spoken, showed that at a single blow was 
crushed all pride of character ; that the highborn 
loftiness of spirit in which he had been educated 
had fallen, and that honour was for ever shipwreck 
ed. He felt himself, in anticipation, already an 
outcast from the world ; a shunned and despised 
alien ; an object of the scorn and pity of mankind. 
And such he was. He felt it to his heart's core. 
Eventually, perhaps, he might have forgiven the 
lowness of his birth, and risen superior to this con 
tingency ; but he could not forget its illegitimacy. 
What had a bastard to do among men ! What had 

VOL. I. O 


he to do with the love of highborn maidens ? What 
was to him the luxuries, the pleasures, the social 
joys of life ? Nothing. The honours of earth were 
not for him ; " a bastard shall not enter even into 
the kingdom of heaven." Who, then, shall con 
demn the resolution of a proud youth like Lester, 
without due cultivation of the moral sense ; unre 
strained by religious principle, and thinking, feel 
ing only as a man ? Who shall judge and not 
pity ? Who shall censure and not sympathize 
with him in his terrible human trial, and regard 
with charity even the darkest aberrations from 
morality and virtue to which it might lead him ; 
remembering that he had the moral heroism and 
godlike virtue to resolve to become his own exe 
cutioner; the voluntary herald of the sentence that 
should cut him off from rank, title, wealth, yea, 
love, and brand him as an exile from his species ? 

Notwithstanding the array of proofs to substan 
tiate the narrative of Elpsy ; notwithstanding the ir 
resistible connexion existing in his own mind in sup 
port of its truth, yet there lingered in his heart a faint 
hope that it might not be as he believed. It became 
so dreadful when calmly contemplated, that he be 
gan to conceive that it was impossible for it to be 
true. There was but one way of confirming it, viz., 
to confront Lady Lester, and learn from her lips 
the truth of what Elpsy had related in reference to 
herself. If it should prove correct, then he resolved 
finally to decide on the method he should pursue. 
Gathering up the reins and pressing his armed heels 
into his horse's flanks as he came to this determina 
tion, he said, as he dashed forward to Castle More, 
the towers of which were now full in sight, 

" From her lips Lady Lester's (if I may not 
call her mother), will 1 have corroboration of this 
foul witch's words. Fly, my good horse ; we will 


soon learn whether thou and I are to part ! But, if 
it must be so, no other shall back thee after me, 
my faithful animal ; my own hand shall slay thee 
first !" 

The fleet hunter brought him in a few moments 
to the gate that led into the courtyard surrounding 
Castle More. At the sound of his approach it flew 
wide open, and, as he passed through, the porter 
removed his cap and bent low with servile respect. 
" Ay," he muttered, " 'tis so now ! but he will 
be the first to scoff with a high head, and turn the 
key upon my back, when it shall be noised abroad 
that Robert of Lester is the brat of a peasant the 
left-handed offspring of Hurtel of the Red-Hand !" 
He threw himself from his horse, and cast his 
bridle to his groom, giving him orders to hold him 
in readiness for him to remount at any moment, 
and entered beneath the lofty arch of the castle, 
over which were elaborately sculptured in stone 
the ancient arms of Lester. He rapidly mounted 
the spacious stairs to a large and lofty hall, hung 
with armour, and adorned with figures of mailed 
warriors, ancestors of that warlike house. From 
childhood he had looked upon these with awe and 
pride. Now he curled his lip with haughty de 
spair, and strode past them with a bitter smile. 
At its farther extremity he tapped lightly at a door, 
partly concealed by tapestry of velvet fringed with 
gold, and adorned with needlework representing 
figures and scenes of a scriptural character. He 
was commanded to enter. With a beating heart, 
and choking with the anticipated confirmation of 
what left scarce room for a doubt, and which he 
had already begun to contemplate as if there were 
no question of its truth, he obeyed. 

The room into which he was admitted occupied 
a small octagonal wing of the building, and from its 


single Gothic window commanded a prospect of the 
mere below, the distant forest, and a blue, wavy line 
of hills skirting the northern horizon. It appeared 
to be used partly as a boudoir and library, partly 
as a chapel : a small altar ; a marble font contain 
ing water; a crucifix at one end, with two lighted 
wax tapers burning before it, appertaining to it in 
its more sacred character. It was hung with brown 
silk tapestry, on which was worked, in yellow silk, 
the history of the martyrdoms of the apostles. Im 
mediately about the altar the hangings were of black 
velvet, giving that part of the room a religious and 
gloomy character. A rich, but soft, light poured in 
through the stained glass of the window, and shed 
a pleasing glow over all. 

Near the window, working with her needle flow 
ers of gold on an altar-piece of snow white satin, 
sat the mistress of Castle More " the Dark Lady 
of the Rock !" She was of a tall and stately fig 
ure, with an innate air of high birth and breeding : 
her features were strikingly noble, and still bore 
traces of eminent beauty. Her eyes were black 
and piercing ; and her brows very dark and thick, 
yet not masculine, but giving rather softness and in 
tellect to the expression of the eyes. Her hair was 
jet black, and confined beneath a close nun's cap, 
and her complexion was deep brown, which, with 
the general dark tinge of her face and features, had 
got for her from the peasants the appellation by 
which among them she was more commonly desig 
nated. The lustre of her fine eyes had given place 
to a melancholy hue ; and the smile, which in youth 
had fascinated the gallant Lord of Lester, was sad 
and pensive. Calmness, gentle resignation, and 
devotion were now the characteristics of her coun 
tenance. She was evidently one who regarded this 
world as the path to that of a happier, and looked 


to that happier for the enjoyment which, without 
her deceased lord, she could not find in this. Twelve 
years had passed since the news was brought her 
that he had fallen before the walls of Saragossa, 
breathing her name in his last sigh. From that 
hour she seldom had been seen to smile ; but, shun 
ning all intercourse with those around her, she com 
muned only with her priest and her God. 

" I thought I knew the footfall of your horse, 
Robert, but did not expect you so soon," she said, 
in a quiet, subdued tone ; " there is a quarter of an 
hour yet to sunset, and you seldom return from 
Castle Cor till it is very late. And Kate's birth 
day, too ! How is this ?" 

She knotted her thread as she spoke, and look 
ed up, showing a countenance chastened by widow 
ed sorrow, and wearing, as she gazed upon him, a 
kindly look, rather than a smile, of welcome. The 
troubled expression of his features ; his flushed 
brow ; his excited manner, and nervous tread as 
he crossed the floor to the window, struck her with 
surprise and alarm. 

" What has happened, Robert ? your feelings are 
wounded, I fear. Come and tell me what that saucy 
maiden, Kate Bellamont, has been saying to give 
you such uneasiness." 

This was spoken with maternal affection, and an 
approach to playfulness of manner. 

The young man stood by the window and gazed 
down into the placid mere, fixing his eyes vacantly 
on a fleet of stately swans that sailed on its glassy 
breast, and remained silent. He knew not how 
to commence the subject he knew not what to 

" Robert, my son," she said, affectionately at 
tempting to take his hand, " something has gone 


wrong with you to-day ; make a confidant of your 
mother !" 

" Would to God thou wert my mother /" he 
cried, almost suffocating. 

" Thy mother, Robert ! what do these words 
mean ?" 

" That my future happiness and misery depend 
on your lips," he replied, turning towards her and 
grasping her hands with strong emotion. 

" Explain !" she said, alarmed and deeply moved 
by the distress and earnestness of his manner. 

" Did you ever (sustain me, Heaven, at this 
moment," he gasped) " ever, face to face, meet 
Hurtel of the Red-Hand ?" 

" Robert, what motive, so terrible in its effect on 
your mind, can have led you to ask this ?" 

" Answer me, my mother speak, Lady Les 

" Yes !" and she shuddered, as if some painful 
incident of the past seemed to press upon her mem 

" Where ? Speak, and tell me truly, if you love 
me !" he eloquently entreated. 

" Heaven and the blessed saints preserve you, 
my son ! 'Tis a sad story ! Why would you seek 
to know this now ? Be calm ; you are ill very 

" No, I am not. Answer me where T 

" He took me prisoner, and bore me on horse 

"Whither?" he cried, impatiently interrupting 

" To his tower." 

" And, ere thy husband rescued thee, I was born 
there ?" 

" Yes. But how heard you this ? I knew not 
that it was known to you, though I had no motive, 


surely, in keeping the knowledge of it from you," 
she said, with surprise. " Is it this, then, that has 
so strangely excited you, my son ?" 

" Who attended on thee at that crisis ?" 

" Robert boy !" 

"Answer me, Lady Lester, I conjure thee! in 
the presence of this holy symbol of our religion !" 
he added, with stern solemnity, taking a small dia 
mond crucifix from her worktable and holding it 
up before her. 

" A pale young woman : I fear me, a leman of 
that evil man." 

" Was she a mother ?" 

" Who has taught thee to put such questions as 
ihese, young man ?" she said, with something of se- 
yerity in her voice. 

" Answer me, Lady Lester, I pray thee !" 

" She had an infant of three days' old." 

** Was it with her in thy room ere thou becamest 
a mother ?" 

" It was." 

"Did you see it?" 

" No ; she kept it swathed up, as if from shame." 

" Who first gave your infant to your arms ?" 

" No one. I had fainted, and, when I came to 
my senses, I found my babe lying on the bed be 
side me ; and," added the lady, with a mother's light 
rekindling in her eyes, " with all a young mother's 
first love, I clasped it to my bosom." 

"And this woman and her child?" 

" I never saw them more. That day my noble 
lord rescued me ; and after he had seen and kissed 
the babe, I remember he pleasantly said to those 
around, ' In losing one I have gained two.' My 
poor, departed Lester ! Heaven be merciful to his 

" And I am that babe ?" . 


" Thou art, my son !" she said, affectionately. 

" I am not !" he cried, fiercely. 

" Not my son ?" 

" Not thy son /" 

"What mean you, insolent boy?" 

" In one word, I will tell thee. The guilty para 
mour of that woman having resolved to put out of 
the world the living witness of the wrong he had 
done her, threatened also her life when she refused 
to surrender it. Prompted by the instinct of ma 
ternal love to save it, she laid it, while thou wert in 
a state of insensibility, by thy side, and gave thine 
to him, palming it off as her own, which, by this 
stratagem, was saved and still lives. I am HE !" 

" Robert of Lester !" cried the lady, rising up 
and fixing her piercing eyes, bright with unwonted 
fire, upon his face, " mock me not ; spare thy 
mother's heart !" 

" Before God I speak truly. I am not thy son." 

" Holy Virgin ! Mercy, Heaven ! mercy !" 
shrieked the lady, and fell nearly lifeless into his 

For a few seconds there was a deep silence, like 
that of death, throughout that little chamber. He 
had not anticipated this ! Absorbed in the contem 
plation of his own misery, he had not thought of 
the blow he should inflict, by the disclosure of the 
dreadful secret, upon the mind of Lady Lester. 
It suddenly occurred to him that there was yet a 
balm in the existence of her true son which might 
heal the wound he had made. Filial affection 
caused him immediately to address, and, by touch 
ing this chord, endeavour to restore her once more 
to life and hope. 

" Lady !" he said, in a hoarse tone, that so deep 
were the feelings that governed it startled even 


" Ha ! Robert ! my son !" she cried, standing up 
and looking wildly in his face ; " what is this I 
have heard ? Is it a dream some terrific dream ?" 

" Thou hast not dreamed, lady," he said, sadly. 

" No, I have not," she cried, with energy, and 
with the sudden return of all her faculties ; "no, I 
have heard thy lips deny me. Thou hast said I 
am not thy mother that thou art not my own 
child !" 

"Do you remember the tale I have told you, 
lady ?" he asked, calmly. 

"Remember? each word is seared into my 
heart !" 

" And do you believe me to be your son ?" 

" Believe ? believe ! I know not what to be 
lieve. What should I believe ! I believe thou art 
my own boy mine, mine, mine /" 

As she spoke she threw her arms with frantic 
wildness about his neck, and hugged him convul 
sively to her bosom. 

" Lady, 'tis vain to shut your eyes to the truth. 
I am not your son but your son lives !" 

" He does, he does live, and I clasp him to my 
heart," she cried, energetically, folding him closer 
to her bosom. 

" Nay" 

" Nay nay, but I will hold thee ! they shall not 
tear thee from rne ! No, no ! they must take my 
heart too, for its strings are bound all about thee, 
and thou art tied too long and too strong to it by the 
thousand chords of a mother's love to be parted 
from it now. Ha, ha ! They shall not part us ! 
Shall they, boy ?" ' 

He looked up into her face and saw that her 
mind wandered ; that reason was falling from its 
throne ! 

" Mother !" he said, in tones of gentle persua- 


sion : " mother !" and he affectionately kissed her 
cheeks ; " mother !" he repeated a third time, in 
the most touching tones of filial love " I am, I 
will be, your own dear son !" 

The softer feelings of her soul came back ; all 
the mother rushed from the heart to the eyes ; and 
dissolved, melted by his appeal, she burst into 
tears, and wept freely and long upon his shoulder. 

At length she became composed ; when, em 
bracing his opportunity, though he had been se 
verely tempted in the interval to let it rest for ever, 
he spoke again with cautious delicacy upon the fa 
tal subject. She listened in silence. She heard 
him with calmness as he went on and explained to 
her the successive steps by which the exchange 
was effected, and unfolded to her, link by link, 
the connected chain of the witch's narrative. He 
convinced her not of its probability, but of its 
possibility. Collecting all her strength of mind, 
she tried to contemplate the subject with compo 
sure. She succeeded : weighed it well, in all its 
parts and bearings ; nicely balanced each particle, 
and sifted each doubtful circumstance. Suddenly 
she turned to him, and said eagerly, and with an 
eye kindling with hope, 

" It may not be so, Robert ! She may, in the 
agitation of the moment, when both were swathed, 
have caught up her own child !" 

" At such a moment, above all, would a mother 
know her own !" he said, firmly, but looking as if 
he would, if he dared, still cherish a hope. 

" Yes, yes ; and she must, too, have seen it after 
ward," she said, in a tone of deep despondency. 
" But who told thee this fatal tale ?" she asked, 

" Elpsy, the sorceress !" 

" Ha !" exclaimed the lady, turning pale. " I 


fear, then, it is too true ! This fearful woman has 
knowledge of hidden and wondrous things through 
her unholy art. Oh, God ! that she had used it to 
a better end ! But, then, there may have been a 
mistake ! Malice her hatred of her species may 
have caused her to give the facts this frightful turn ! 
Dreadful being! thus to loose, even by raising a 
doubt of thy birthright, my last hold on earthly 
happiness, and wreck all my hopes in thee. Her 
face ever has haunted me as if for evil ! It seems 
to me as if I had seen it in the dreams of my child 
hood. I know not how it is, but I never looked 
upon her without presentiments of evil and vague 
sensations of suffering, as if her very presence was 
associated with scenes of terror. Now are they all, 
indeed, realized ! But I will not give thee up, 
Robert, my son my own son !" she cried, fran 
tically ! " I will cling to the hope that the fatal ex 
change was not made !" 

He suffered her to embrace him again and 
again, and then, after a few moments' silence, and 
speaking in an indifferent tone, he said, 

" Lady Lester ! Was thy noble husband of fair 
complexion ?" 

" No, dark as the Spaniard's, yet it was exceed 
ingly rich to the eye with its bright blood !" she 
said, with conjugal pride. 

" Were his eyes blue ?" 

"Black as night, large and staglike, yet soft as 
a fawn's in the gentleness of their expression but 
terrible as the eagle's when roused." 

" Were his locks golden ?" 

" The plumage of the raven not more black and 
glossy !" 

" Was he tall of stature and strongly-framed ?" 

" Scarce even as tall as thyself now ; his frame 
was light and elegant, but manly : to sum him up 


in all," she said, carried away by the prideful recol 
lections awakened by these allusions to him, " he 
was a statesman ; a patron of letters and the arts ; a 
gallant knight, a brave soldier, and an accomplished 
scholar : he was called the handsomest man of his 
time : above all, he was a Christian !" 

" Am I like him . ? " asked Lester, startling her 
with the depth of his voice, and at once showing 
her the drift of his seemingly aimless questions. 
" Is my stature slight ? are these locks raven ? are 
these eyes black ? is the hue of the Spaniard on 
my cheek ?" 

The lady shrunk from his words, covered her 
face with her hands, and despairingly shook her 

"Say," he added, with increasing energy, "is 
there the faintest lineament in my face a scarce 
perceptible cast of the eye a bend of the brow 
a movement of the lip a motion of arm or finger 
aught in my carriage, walk, or voice, that reminds 
thee of thy noble husband ?" 

" No, no, no ! Stop, stop, you will kill me !" 

" One word more ! Answer me truly, Lady 
Lester, as you stand before Heaven, have I not 
the same fair skin the same light flowing hair 
the same blue eyes the stature, the very voice 
ay, the very selfsame frown of Hurtel of the Red- 

" Ha ! now I see it ! Oh, Jesu Maria ! Thou 
art his very image ! Mercy, mercy, mercy !" and, 
with a shriek wrung from a breaking heart, she fell, 
as if dead, upon the floor. 

For a few moments he stood gazing upon her 
with the cool, decisive smile of a man for whom 
fate has done her worst, and who defies and laughs 
to scorn her farther triumphs over his soul. His 
fixed countenance was more fearful than phrensied 


agitation or tremendous wrath. It was the dark, 
still cloud that rests upon the crater ere the volca 
no bursts into flame. Gradually, as he gazed on 
that beloved countenance, pale and deathly in its 
aspect, he sunk on his knees beside her, took her 
insensible hands within his own, and kissed her un 
conscious brow, while fast and thick dropped the 
heavy tears upon her face. 

" Mother, for mother thou art, indeed !" said he, 
feelingly, " I would not have struck this blow to 
thy heart ; but I could not stand before thee a de 
ceiver, an impostor ! I could not encounter the 
affectionate glance of thy pure eyes, meet thy gaze 
of maternal love, and know they were not mine. 
Yet thou art my mother ! all the mother I have 
ever known. Have I not drawn life from that 
breast ? Has not my infant head been pillowed from 
the first on that maternal bosom ? Didst thou not 
hear me when my infant lips first lisped thy ma 
ternal name ? Hast thou ever known other son than 
me I other parent ? Thou art my mother ! I am 
thy son, though the blood of strangers, whom I 
have never known, flows in my plebeian veins ! 
Mother, we must part ! The house of Lester may 
not have a baseborn lord ! Would to God I could 
have turned aside this stroke from thee ! But it 
is past ! Henceforward thou art nothing to me 
I nothing to thee. Farewell, farewell, my own, my 
beloved mother !" 

He bent over her, and affectionately and pas 
sionately embraced her, pressing his lips to hers, 
and bathing her face with his hot tears. She 
seemed to be awakened to sudden consciousness 
by the act ; and throwing her arms about him, she 
faintly articulated, " My son ! my son !" and re 
lapsed into insensibility. He clasped her uncon 
scious form in one more long embrace, kissed her 

VOL. I. P 


for the last time, and gently disengaged himself 
from her arms. 

His movements became now direct and decided. 
He approached the escritoir, and hastily wrote on a 
leaf of her missal, 

" Lady Lester nay, mother dearest MOTHER ! 
I have just taken my last leave of you. I go forth 
into the world and commit rny fortune to its cur 
rents. Baseborn guilty-born attainted by my 
father's crimes, I am unworthy your love or a 
place in your thoughts. Henceforward let me be 
nothing to thee ! Forget that I have ever existed. 
Though I depart, yet is Lester not without an heir ! 
you not without a son ! Thy child thou wilt find 
with the fisherman Meredith, at Castle Cor. He 
is the perfect semblance of thy husband, Robert, 
Lord of Lester, as you have described him to me ; 
and, when your eyes behold him, your heart will 
at once claim him. He is proud and high-spirited, 
and worthy of the name he is destined to bear. 
Seek him out ; and may he fill the place in your 
heart from which I am for ever excluded. Fare 
well, my mother, for other mother than thee have 
I never known will never know ! 

" -Son ofHurtel of the Red-Hand." 

He placed the paper open before the crucifix, 
where she was wont to pray, and was himself un 
consciously in the act of kneeling to seek a bless 
ing from Heaven, when he hastily recovered his 
erect attitude, saying, with a thrilling laugh of 
reckless hopelessness, 

" Never more do I bend the knee to Heaven ! 
What have I to do with prayer ?" 

He approached the door, and then turned back 


to gaze an instant with a melancholy look on the 
prostrate form of Lady Lester : 

" Nay, I must not leave thee so !" he said : return 
ing, he tenderly raised her up, and used means to 
restore her. 

After a few moments she revived and gazed 
wildly around her. 

" Robert, is it you ? are you beside me ? Oh, 
my son, I have had such a tale of horror revealed 
to me as I slept." 

She pressed her fingers upon her eyelids as if 
to recall what appeared to her a dark dream. As 
she did so he stole from her towards the door 
lingered turned back severed a bright lock from 
his temples, pressed it to his lips, and placed it 
within her hand ; he then hastily kissed her pale 
forehead, saying, half aloud, 

" Here I bury all human feelings /" 

The next moment he precipitately fled from the 

Roused by the sound of the closing door, she 
shrieked his name, and, hastening through the dark 
hall, called in tones of distressing anguish, 

" Robert, my son ! my boy ! my dear boy ! 
leave not your mother desolate !'' 

He stopped his ears to the sounds, quickened 
his steps, and threw himself into his saddle. 

" 'Tis full late, my lord, to ride forth alone," 
said the groom, as he held the stirrup. 

" Lord me not, Tyrell. If thou hast chanced to 
be born in wedlock, thou hast better blood in thy 
veins than I !" 

" How mean you, my lord ?" said the astonished 

" Didst ever hold stirrup for a fisher's son ?" 

" No, my lord !" 

" Thou liest. For thou hast but now done so. 


Your lord has found out that he is but a fisher- 
woman's brat ; and a fisher's brat is about to find 
out that he is a lord." 

" You speak in riddles, my lord." 

" Set thy wits, and those of yonder gaping fel 
lows, to work to unriddle them," was the reply of 
the degraded youth as he buried his spurs deep in 
his horse's flanks. " Give the compliments of the 
son of Hurtel of the Red-Hand to your new lord, 
knaves, and say he has taken the liberty to borrow 
his hunter for a time !" he cried, turning round in 
the saddle as he rode off. 

The next moment he dashed across the draw 
bridge and disappeared in the twilight gloom of the 
forest, leaving the wonder-stricken retainers to pick 
the kernel from the difficult nut he had left them 
to crack ; and, by putting their sage heads together, 
with the aid of some expressions dropped by the 
frantic Lady Lester, they were not long in arriving 
at a shrewd guess at the truth. 


" Guiltless am I, but bear the penalty '" 
* * * ' * * 

" Wild was the place, but wilder his despair : 

Low shaggy rocks that o'er deep caverns scowl 
Echo his groans : the tigress in her lair 

Starts at the sound, and answers with a growl." 


From the topmost height of his ambition, 
It became his ambition to mate him 
With the lowest." 

THE night was fast approaching as the desolate 
outcast entered the forest. He hailed the gather 
ing darkness with joy, for it was in unison with the 


gloom of his soul. The howl of the wildest storm 
would have been music to his ears ! He could 
have mocked with shouts of gladness the rattling 
thunder, and played with the shafts of the glittering 

He rode deep into the wood whither he cared 
not so that he left behind him all that he had lost. 
For half an hour he thought of nothing but urging 
his horse forward at the top of his speed. He 
banished thought, reflection, sensation. He dared 
not think. He found relief only in animal action 
and rapid motion, and rode furiously onward with 
out knowing or regarding the course taken by his 
horse, who instinctively followed the dark windings 
of the forest paths. 

At length the moon rose and shone down upon 
him through the tree tops. Its light seemed to re 
store him to himself. He checked his rapid course, 
and gazed at her pale orb ; as he looked, reflection, 
returned, and he began to realize his situation, and 
to taste the full bitterness of the cup of which he 
had drunken. The past, the present, the future, 
flashed with all their naked colours upon his mind. 
The picture his imagination painted with the hues 
they lent was too appalling to contemplate ; and, 
as if the fabled influence of the planet, the soft 
light of which had restored him to reflection, had 
acted upon his fevered brain, he was suddenly con 
verted into a maniac. He rose upright in his stir 
rups, and shouted, shrieked, till the forests rang 
again. He shook his clinched fists at the placid 
moon, that seemed smilingly to mock his woes. 
He spurred on his horse till the animal groaned 
with pain, and plunged madly forward with his 
phrensied rider ! He would then rein him up, 
and, gnashing his teeth, lift his hands above his 
head, and curse God and man. Then he would 


again shout with phrensy, and gore his steed till 
he became furious and snorted with rage, and ride 
once more forward with the speed of the wind. 

These passions were too violent to last. His 
wild excitement gradually subsided ; his horse was 
suffered to move at his own pace ; and, with his 
arms folded moodily, and his chin drooping on his 
breast, he gave himself up to the stern and gloomy 
thoughts of his situation, and, for a time, buried in 
the depths of his own meditations, seemed to be 
wholly unconscious of external objects. He rode 
on in this way for more than an hour, when he was 
aroused by the sudden stopping of his horse. He 
looked up and saw before him a dilapidated gate, 
which barred his farther progress. Beyond, visi 
ble by the full flood of moonlight, was a lonely 
square tower, flanked by a single wing, topped with 
a battlement. He listened, and thought he heard 
the dashing of waves upon the beach. The whole 
scene was new to him ! Where could his faithful 
steed have borne him ? From the moment he had 
left Castle More behind all had seemed like a blank 
to him. How far, and whither, could he have rid 
den ? He looked up at the moon. It had not risen 
when he left Castle More, yet it now rode high in 
the heavens ! By her position it was near midnight. 

Indifferent where he wandered, he leaped the 
sunken gate, and rode up to the tower. It was 
not in ruins, yet wore an aspect of desolation and 
neglect. Its loneliness harmonized with his own 
situation, and was grateful to him. He rode round 
the angle of a buttress, when the sea suddenly 
opened before him, and he saw that the tower stood 
on a rock thirty or forty feet above it, and that 
where it overhung the water projected a small bal 
cony. A sudden thought flashed upon his mind 
as he discovered this. 


" It must be !" he exclaimed, with animation ; 
" 'tis the tower of Hurtel of the Red-Hand ! This 
moat, yonder ruined drawbridge, its situation, and, 
above all, that balcony, one and all, identify it 
with Elpsy's description. By the bones of my 
red-handed sire ! thou knewest what thou wert 
about to bring me hither, sagacious animal !" he 
added, sarcastically, patting the noble horse on the 
neck ; " 'tis fitting I should take possession of my 
father's towers with the inheritance of his name. 
Ha, ha ! I am not quite a vagabond !" and he 
laughed scornfully. 

He started with surprise, for the laugh seemed 
to be echoed from the tower. 

" 'Twas a human voice, or else a spirit mock 
ing ! If demons do rejoice over the miseries of 
mankind, they may well hold a jubilee in honour of 
mine. Laugh on, imps ! I am a fit subject for your 
merriment !" and he laughed with nervous derision. 

Again he started, for he was answered by a 
laugh so wild that it chilled his blood. The sound 
seemed to proceed from an upper room in the 
wing of the building. 

" Fiend or flesh, it shall rue this merriment !" 
he cried, leaping to the ground and hastening to the 
door of the tower. 

It was ajar ; he dashed it open with his heel, and 
found himself in a long, low hall, at the extremity of 
which was the window that opened on the balcony, 
through which he caught a glimpse of the glimmer 
ing sea. By the light it afforded he crossed the 
hall, and, standing on the balcony, glanced an in 
stant over the vast moonlit expanse of water, and 
then, with a strange interest, the whole of Elpsy's 
story rushing vividly to his mind, he shudderingly 
cast his eyes down the rock which stood in deep 
shadow. Even by the indistinct light he could dis- 


cern the sharp projection on which the garments of 
the infant had caught in its descent, and not four 
feet distant from him, on a level with the window, 
was the rock on which the fisher's daughter his 
mother was in the act of springing, when hurled 
into the sea by his father. On that very balcony 
had he stood to do the deed ! Strange, wonderful, 
overpowering were his sensations. He held his 
breath with the intensity of his thoughts. 

" Here," said he, mentally, placing his hand on 
the balustrade, " has lain my unknown mother's 
hand ; it warmed this senseless iron, which can 
give me back no warmth in return. Here pressed 
the foot of my father ! Here they parted ! How ! 
ah, how 1 Where are they now ? Where is he ? 
does he live ? Where is she ? A fearful thought 
forces itself upon me that I dare not dwell upon ! 
This strange tale of the sorceress ; her wonderful 
and minute knowledge, that could be only known 
to the actor ; her emotion at different portions of 
the story ; a hundred things, light as air, that have 
insinuated themselves into my mind, have made 
me think she might be fiends ! it will out! my 
mother ! But, then, she told me that she was dead. 
Well, be it so, yet I can fall no lower ! W r ere my 
mother living, could her lot be better than this fear 
ful weird woman's ? Ha, ha, ha ! I have no pride 
now !" he added, with a hollow laugh of mingled 
despair and phrensy. 

" Ha, ha, ha !" he heard repeated, in tones so 
unearthly that his heart ceased to beat, and a thrill 
like ice shot through his veins. 

The next moment he was at the top of a flight 
of steps leading from one side of the hall to an up 
per room, from which the voice seemed to proceed. 
A stream of moonlight, falling through a window, 
showed him a door on the landing-place, which he 


threw open. He found himself in a small room, 
lighted by a lattice of crimson-stained glass look 
ing south towards the sea : into it the moon, in its 
western circle, had just began to shine, its red-died 
beams tinting the twilight of the chamber with the 
hue of blood. Seated high in the recess of the win 
dow, he discovered the dark figure of a female ; her 
knees drawn up to her chin, and her hands clasped 
together around them. As he opened the door she 
leaped down like a cat and sprang towards him. 
The sanguinary light of the room had affected his 
imagination, not untinged with the superstitious 
fears of his time ; but this sudden apparition, though 
he had prepared himself to see something either 
human or supernatural, caused him to start back 
with an exclamation of surprise. 

" Come in, Robert of Lester ! I welcome you 
to the room which first welcomed you to the light," 
said she, in a voice which he at once recognised as 
that of the sorceress. 

The singular information her words conveyed 
suspended for the moment all other emotions in his 
mind save curiosity at finding himself so unex 
pectedly in the chamber where he was born. He 
gazed about him for a few moments under the in 
fluence of the strange thoughts and emotions the 
circumstance called up, and then turning towards 
her, said, 

" Why art thou here, wicked woman ? Didst 
thou anticipate rny presence, and art thou come to 
mock the misery thou hast wrought ?" 

" I fled lest thou shouldst do a deed of blood thy 
hand might rue. I fled not for myself, but for 

" You need not fear me now. There exists no 
longer any motive for secrecy," he said, gloomily. 

" How mean you ?" she eagerly asked. 


" Ere to-morrow's sun, 'twill be in every boor's 
mouth, from Castle Cor to Kinsale, that I am no 
longer Lord of Lester !" 

" Speak explain !" she said, hoarsely, grasping 
his arm with both hands, and breathing quick and 

" I have told the Lady Lester that he whom 
she thought her son was not her son," he firmly 

" Ha ! tJiou thou hast told thy shame ? Speak, 
Robert More have you breathed to mortal ear 
what I have told thee of thy birth ?" she demand 
ed, with fearful energy of speech and manner. 

"I have. 'Tis known to every servitor from 
hall to stable !" 

"Didst give thy name ?" 

" Robert, son of Hurtel of the Red-Hand." 

" And this did thine own lips, of thine own free 
will ?" 

" Never man spoke freer !" 

" Then hell be thy portion ! Accursed be ye, 
Robert Hurtel ! Had I thought thou wouldst have 
become the trumpeter of thy shame had I be 
lieved thou wouldst have breathed to mortal ear 
thine infamy, I would have seared my tongue with 
hot iron ere I would have told thee the secret of 
thy birth. The infernal demon has prompted thee 
to do this ! Didst thou not seek to slay me, that 
thou shouldst be the sole keeper of the foul se 
cret ?" 

" I did, at the moment, but thought better of it !" 
" Base ! lowborn ! miserable that thou art ! 
Why was not my tongue withered ere I told thee 
this ?" 

" Would to God it had been, woman. What 
was thy motive in ever letting it go from thy own 
breast ?" 


" Love of mischief hatred of mankind ; and to 
lower thy pride, knowing from what dunghill thou 
wert sprung. But I did not think thou wouldst 
use my secret thus ; and wreck the gifts that 
that thy mother's stratagem had purchased, and 
after secured to thee by years of absence, privation, 
and misery." 

" How ?" 

" Did she not, for thy sake, keep the secret of 
thy birth coming not even near thee when, on 
the ninth day, Hurtel of the Red-Hand being gone 
over the sea, she might safely have claimed thee of 
Lady Lester, and given her back her own !" she 
said, vehemently. 

" Rather for her own sake from maternal pride 
at having her son sit among nobles," was the stern 
reply. " And if these were her motives, as I doubt 
not they were, at what price did she purchase this 
honour for her child? The price of the deepest 
guilt, by keeping the true heir from his birthright. 
I did not view it in this light before. By the cross ! 
I am a well-born ! a guilty mother, too ! 'Tis well 
you told me she was no more ; I should care little 
to meet her in my present mood." 

As he spoke, the woman sunk her head upon her 
bosom, and deep groans escaped her, whether of 
defeated hopes, of sorrow, of shame, or of remorse, 
he knew not. Suddenly he laid his hand upon her 
arm, and looked impressively in her face, and said, 

" Woman ! who is my mother ?" 

" Thou wilt never know !" 

Art thou ?" 

"Ha, ha, ha! I? Do I look like the gentle 
maiden that won the love of Hurtel of the Red- 
Hand? Are these matted locks tresses of gold? 
Is this complexion like the blended ivory and rose ? 
Is my voice soft and full of love ? Are my eyes 


like the gazelle's, and gentle as the dove's in their 
expression ? Is this hideous form such as would 
lure youth to embrace it. ? Wilt thou acknowledge 
thyself the son of ' the witch' ' the sorceress' 
' the beldame Elpsy' (such were thy gentle terms) 
the beleagued with demons the familiar of the 
evil one the " 

" No, no ! Avaunt !" he shouted, with a furious 
gesture ; " thank God ! I am not sunk so low as 
that !" 

" Ha, ha ! Thy pride is fallen far indeed when 
it can enter thy thoughts, and even go from thy 
lips, that Elpsy of the Tower gave thee birth. Oh, 
ho ! I am well avenged in this for thy mad folly in 
throwing away thy earldom. Oh, how I do hate 
thee for that act ! for it thou shall never know 
peace in body or soul !" 

" I defy thee, woman, and all thy arts !" 

" Yet the tales of my deeds have made thy hu 
man soul to shrink ! Beware how thou speakest 
lightly of what thou knowest naught, and which is 
hid from mortal ken !" she added, with mysterious 
and solemn earnestness. " Whither turn thy foot 
steps now, Lord of Lester ?" she asked, with chill 
ing irony. " Doubtless thou hast come to take 
possession of thy fair lands here. They are not so 
broad, indeed, as the domains of Castle More, and 
thy castle needs some furnishing and repair. Doubt 
less thou wouldst like to fit it up ere thou bringest 
home to be its mistress the fair Kate of Bellamont !" 

" Breathe that name again, woman, and I will 
take thy life !" 

" Thou art now thy very father's image !" she 
said, with derision. " Even in this moonlight I can 
see that devilish shape of the eyes that his were 
wont to assume when he meditated murder ! Ho ! 
I dare to say thou wilt be like him in more than 


the glance of the eye. Dost mean to follow in his 
footsteps, and head a band of lawless insurgents ; or 
wilt thou, as 'tis said his brother did " 

" His brother ?" 

" Thou didst not know before thou hadst once 
an uncle ? So : thou shall no longer be kept in ig 
norance. He was a bold, bad man, and therein 
true to his race ; was called Black Hurtel, and 
roved the Danish seas a daring bucanier. 'Twas 
said he could float his ship in the blood of the men 
he had slain ! He was killed on j,he French coast 
in a fierce fight ; but his vessel was captured, and 
his dead body, with his living crew (for the captors 
would not leave one alive to blacken the face of the 
earth), were sunk in the deep sea. Perhaps, like 
him, thou wilt take to the wave, and carve thy for 
tune in blood ! Blood is sweet, and there is music 
to the ear in its gurgle where it is shed with a free 
hand ! Look you," she said, policing through the 
window ; " the sea is spread wide before you, and 
seems to invite thee with its glancing waves. It 
knows not of thy disgrace, nor has it voices to whis 
per thy infamy ; while every bird, tree, and stone 
wil) nod and gossip to one another as thou pass- 
est by 

" ' There goes he who was the Lord of Lester !' " 

" Woman, you madden me !" 

"Perhaps," she continued, in the same cutting 
tone, while he paced the little chamber with a 
phrensied step, " thou wilt rather come and share 
my tower i'the ruin, if the new Lord of Lester 
will give thee leave ; doubtless he will honour 
thee by asking thee to hold his stirrup on occasion. 
But, if thou wilt rather habit in this tower, I will be 
thy seneschal. I love its old gray walls ! many is 
the moonlight night I've sat in the window and 
looked on the sea, as it danced, and glimmered, and 

VOL. I. Q 


: t* '' ^ 

seemed to beck and nod, and laugh when I laugh 
ed. Ha, ha ! I have had brave times here, gossip- 
ping with the sea !" 

As she said this she looked from the window, 
and suddenly her eye seemed to be arrested by 
some unexpected sight. She gazed for a moment 
eagerly, and then said, in the enthusiastic tone and 
manner of a sibyl, skilfully assumed with the tact 
of one accustomed to turn to her own purpose 
every passing circumstance, 

" Look thou, Robert Huvtel ! I have had pity on 
thy state, and have, by the art thou hast dared to 
scorn, brought from many a far league away, to thy 
tower's foot, a ship to waft thee and thy fortunes ! 
See how proudly it stands in towards the land, 
looking like a great white spirit, with the moon 
glancing on its canvass wings. Oh, 'tis a brave 
bark !" 

" The young man (her words taunting, malicious, 
and hateful as they were, not having been without 
some effect in influencing him in determining on his 
future course) sprang alertly to the window and 
gazed with interest on the approaching vessel. It 
was about a third of a mile from the land, standing 
directly towards the tower before a light breeze. It 
was apparently about seventy tons burden, short 
and heavily built, rising very high out of the water, 
with a very lofty stern. It had three masts, each 
consisting of one entire stick, tapering to a slender 
point, and terminated by a little triangular flag. On 
each mast was hoisted a huge, square lugger's sail, 
which, with a short jib, stretched from the head of 
the foremast to a stunted bowsprit, and a sort of tri- 
sail or spanker aft worked without a boom, was all 
the canvass she carried or that belonged to her pecu 
liar class of craft. 

He watched it with eager attention as it came 


bounding landward, flinging the glittering spray 
from its round bows, its wet sides shining in the 
moonlight as if sheathed with plates of silver. A 
chaos of hopes, wishes, and conflicting resolutions 
agitated his mind as it approached : after a short 
struggle, he resolved to throw himself on board 
if her master would receive him, and depart with 
her wherever the winds should waft her. Hav 
ing come to this determination, he watched her mo 
tions with additional interest ; and when, after com 
ing in so close to the shore that he could discern 
that her decks were crowded with men, she wore 
round and stood northward, his heart sank within 
him ; and, dashing his hand through the crimson 
glass, he was about to hail, when Elpsy checked 
him : 

" Hold ! see you not they are only coming up 
to wind to lie to ! Look ! they are already swing 
ing round their clumsy sails." 

The vessel came up slowly and heavily to the 
wind, and, by means of her mainsail, lay as still as 
if at anchor. In a few moments afterward, as they 
eagerly watched, they saw a boat let down, and 
several men descend over the side into it. He ut 
tered a joyful exclamation when he saw this move 
ment ; and, without reflecting upon the character of 
the vessel, or the object it could have in view in 
landing on so retired a coast at such a time, he only 
thought of it as a means of bearing him from the 
hateful shore, and perhaps opening for him some 
path to action and mental excitement. 

" See that flash ol light on her deck ! There is 
another gleam !" ^claimed Elpsy. 

" 'Tis the glancing of the moonbeams on steel !" 
he replied, in a gratified tone. 

" There is a sound a man should know !" she 
said again. 


" 'Tis the ringing of arms !" he replied, in the 
same animated manner. 

" What think you they are, young man ?" asked 
she, with a peculiar smile, laying her hand impres 
sively on his arm. 

" I know not, nor care, so I may cast my fortune 
with them !" 

" Thou art, of a truth, thy father's son !" 

" And, by the cross, he shall not be ashamed 
to own me !" he replied, in a desperate and de 
termined tone. 

" I will tell thee what they are for I have passed 
my life by the seaside, and know the nature, and 
have learned to know the occupation and nation of 
each ship by its fashion, as I would tell a trades 
man's by his garb." 

" What, then, is the nation of this barque ?" 

" He is a Dane." 

" Its nature ?" 

" To sail in shallow waters, and run before the 

" Its business on the sea ?" 

" To rob, pillage, and slay !" 

" Ha, a bucanier ?" 

" A Dane." 

"'Tis but another name for pirate in these wa 
ters. By the cross ! when I saw the glitter of 
steel in the hands of its crew, I half guessed it." 

" Wilt thou now link thy fate with theirs ?" 

" Am I not fit to be their comrade ? Are they out 
casts ; what am I ? Are they branded with shame ; 
who am I ? Has society cast thejp from its bosom; 
was I not born in bastardy ? Am I not fallen lower 
than the lowest he among them who hath been born 
in wedlock ? Why should I hesitate to mate with 
my fellows ? What has the honourable world to in 
vite me to ? What if I could bury in oblivion from 


the reach of my own thoughts the black stain upon 
my birth and hitherto noble name, and, under a 
new one, with a strong heart and virtuous resolves, 
throw myself into the arena of honourable contest, 
and should succeed in winning a name that men 
would do homage to should I not wear it, feeling 
that a sword was suspended by a hair above my 
head ?" 

" How mean you ?" she asked, struck with the 
impassioned and despairing tones of his voice. 

" I mean that, if, after carrying the secret like a 
living serpent coiled in my heart for years, I should, 
without suspicion, chance to win a fair name, the 
time at length would come when some one, with a 
too faithful memory, would recognise the bastard 
Hurtel the quondam Lester in the successful ad 
venturer ; and then No, no !" he said, bitterly, 
" no, no ! It may not be ! The presence of this 
ship points me to the course I should pursue. I 
obey the fate that has directed it hither !" 

" Wilt thou become a pirate ?" she said, with a 
natural and feeling manner, as if prompted by some 
suddenly-awakened interest in him. " Yesterday 
Lord of Lester to-day a pirate !" 

" Yes." 

" Curse the tongue that told thee of thy birth ! 
But," she continued, muttering with her usual quick 
tones and nervousness of manner, " it was so pleas 
ant to tell him, for his father's sake, he looked so like 
him ! And then it was a pleasure to humble his 
pride, which he made even me the victim of : and 
so, as my master would have it, I could not, for the 
life o' me, longer help telling him the love-story I 
had kept so many years in my heart for him. Ho ! 
ho ! ha ! ha ! and a pleasant tale it was, too !" she 
added in that phrensied strain which seemed to be 
most natural to her. 



While she was speaking the boat, which appear 
ed to be full of men, put off from the vessel, and 
they could distinctly hear the command to "let 
fall," followed by the splash of the falling sweeps. 

" Give way !" in a stern, deep tone, came di 
rectly afterward distinctly to their ears ; and, shoot 
ing out from the vessel's side, the boat moved in to 
wards the cliff. 

As it neared the shore, one of the men stood up 
in the stern, and was heard to command them to 
cease pulling ; and, for a few seconds afterward, 
he seemed to be reconnoitring the beach. Appa 
rently satisfied with his scrutiny, he ordered them to 
give way again, steered directly to the foot of the 
tower, and skilfully run the boat alongside of the 
rock almost beneath the window. 

" Now lay off an oar's length from the shore, and 
wait for me," said the one who had steered the 
boat, and who appeared to be the leader. " Be on 
the alert against surprise, though there's little fear 
of any one being within a league of the old tower. 
Carl, you and Evan take the coil of rigging and 
come with me." 

As he spoke he leaped on the projection of the 
rock; then measuring the cliff with his eye, he 
placed his cutlass between his teeth and began to as 
cend. By the aid of numerous fissures and bold 
spurs jutting out from the sides he reached the top, 
closely followed by his men. Here he paused a mo 
ment, resting on his cutlass, and looked about him. 
He stood directly beneath the window from which 
Elpsy and the young man were looking, and was 
plainly visible to them. He was a short, stout- 
built man, with a ruddy complexion, browned by the 
winds and suns of every clime. His hair was gray, 
and hung in straight locks about his ears ; and, judg 
ing by the deeply-indented lines of his weather-worn 
visage, his age was about, fiftv ; yet his compactly- 


built figure, his light motions, and athletic appear 
ance, gave indications of many years less. His 
countenance, turned upward to their full gaze in 
his survey of the tower, wore an expression of care 
less jovially, united with desperate hardihood. The 
most striking characteristic of his face was a thick 
red mustache covering his upper lip. He had on 
his head an immense fur cap, and wore a short, full 
frock of a dark shade, secured at the waist by a 
broad belt, stuck with large, heavy pistols of the 
kind known, at the period, as the hand-harquebuss. 
He wore, also, voluminous breeches of buff leather, 
buckled at the knee, red cloth gaiters, and high- 
quartered shoes with pointed toes, and garnished 
with sparkling buckles of immense size. By his 
side hung the empty sheath of the sabre on which 
he leaned. His men, save the fur cap, for which 
they substituted red woollen ones of a conical form, 
and the frock, instead of which they wore long 
jackets, were breeches, buckler, shoes, and gaiters 
his counterpart in apparel. 

" 'Tis the very spot I once knew it ! The un 
changed sea the rock this gray tower ! It seems 
as if but a day, and not eighteen years, had passed 
since I banqueted here with Hurtel of the Red- 
Hand," he said to himself, gazing round with re 
vived recollections at each object. " Well, strange 
things have happened since ! He is dead, or an 
exile with a price on his head ; all our brave band 
scattered ; and I, only, am left to stand once more 
on this familiar spot. The old rookery looks des 
olate enough, and seems to sympathize with its 
master's fortunes ! Open your lantern, Carl, and 
let us enter ! This moon wtfll scarce afford light 
where I wish to penetrate ! Heaven grant no evil 
spirit haunts here to keep guard over the treasure 
I have come to carry off ! But, if it still remains, 


I will e'en cross blades with the devil for it, and win 
it, will he, nil he." 

He passed as he spoke round the tower, and the 
next moment the listeners heard the heavy footsteps 
of the three men echoing through the hall. The 
young man was about to spring from the room to 
meet them, when Elpsy held him back. 

" Would you run upon death ! They would 
sheathe their cutlasses in your body ere you could 
open your lips. Hold, and hush ! There is time 
enough. We will see what their purpose is. I 
have half a guess, from his words, at their busi 
ness here." 


" Hurtel of the Red-Hand, the story goes, had 
secreted in some part of the tower large sums of 
silver and gold, with which to aid the conspiracy 
he headed. He had neither time nor means to 
take it away with him, and doubtless it still re 
mains here, and this bucanier is acquainted with the 

" Ha !" he exclaimed, with surprise, " who told 
thee this ?" 

"Rumour, said I not!" she replied, after a mo 
ment's hesitation. 

" And how should these know where to look for 
what has been concealed for years ?" 

" Hark !" she cried, as a heavy noise reached 
them from a distant part of the building, "they 
have opened the trap of the tower, and will de 
scend into the vaults. He is one that knows well 
the place." 

" Doubtless, from his language, some one of 
my hospitable parerit'-s fellow-chiefs, who used to 
revel here in the days you tell of. I will see what 
they do, and take opportunity of forming good fel 
lowship with my father's friend. Nay but let me 
go, woman !" 


He broke from her as she attempted to detain 
him, and, cautiously opening the door, descended 
with a cautious and rapid step into the hall. At 
its opposite extremity he saw, by the glimmer of a 
lamp held by one of them, the two men standing 
over an opening in the floor, and their leader just 
in the act of letting himself down into the subter 
ranean chamber beneath. 

" Hold the ladder steady, Evan !" he said. 
" Thrust your lantern down at arm's length, Carl, 
so that I can see where to place my foot. Ha ! 
there, I find bottom," he added, his voice sounding 
hollow from the depth ; " 'tis dark and damp as a 
Calcutta blackhole ! Faith, it's more like a tomb 
than an honest underground apartment. I hope I 
shall not see Hurtel's ghost guarding his box. 
Tumble down here, boys, and be ready to hand 
above decks as soon as I find out where it's stow 
ed away !" 

The others, leaving their cutlasses behind, fol 
lowed him into the vault. Their heads had no 
sooner disappeared than the young man crossed 
the hall with a free step to the trapdoor, and look 
ed fearlessly after them. He had from the first, 
when the vessel came in sight, deliberately resolv 
ed to attach himself to the party ; and now the 
frank, blunt manner of the old sea-rover struck his 
fancy, and confirmed him in his resolution. But 
he was at a loss how to make his intentions 
known how first to address men ready to shed 
blood on the instant without question, and among 
whom, at such a time, the very discovery of his 
presence might be fatal ere he could make known 
to the chief his intentions. While watching them 
as they groped about through the vast vault, an 
idea, characteristic of his now reckless disposition, 
suggested by the ghostly apprehensions of the 


leader, entered his mind. He paused for an in 
stant, and then, favoured by the darkness, dropped 
noiselessly into the chamber. With a step that 
gave back no sound, he approached them as they 
moved in an opposite direction from him, throwing 
the light all forward, and waited the opportunity 
he had chosen for discovering himself. 

" 'Tis twelve paces to the south, eight paces to 
the east, and six paces to the west again which 
will bring me to the wall, and on the very stone 
Red Hurtel and I placed over the gold," said the 
captain ; " here are twelve paces, well told !" he 
added, placing his foot immediately afterward em 
phatically on the stone floor. 

These words at once gave the youth a key to the 
course he should adopt. His quick eye, as the 
leader turned to pace east, comprehended the re 
maining angle at a glance, and, gliding away by the 
wall, he moved cautiously and noiselessly along till 
he felt his foot press upon a loose slab. He knew 
he must be on or near<lhe spot; and drawing himself 
to his full height, and unconsciously assuming a 
stern and resolute look, called up by the novelty 
and danger of his situation, he waited the angular 
advance of the captain, who, with his men, was too 
intent on accurately marking his steps to look up 
even for a moment. 

" Now west !" said the leader ; and, turning as he 
spoke, he had counted on to four, five, and was 
about to take the last step to the wall, when, pro 
nounced in a deep tone, that rung hollow through 
the vault, he heard the word, 

" Forbear !" 

He lifted his eyes and fell back upon his men as 
the lantern shone full upon the object, exclaiming, 

" The ghost of Hurtel, by all that's good ! Evan, 
come back here, you villain ! Carl, give me that 


lantern, coward !" he shouted to his men, who 
turned and fled with affright. 

He caught the light from the hand of the terri 
fied Dane, and turned upon this apparition, which> 
notwithstanding his coolness, had not a little dis 
concerted him. He held the lamp, though standing 
off at a chosen distance, to the, face of the supposed 
ghost, and said, with an odd mixture of natural 
boldness and superstitious fear, 

" 'Fore Heaven, comrade, you have grown full 
young in the other world ! But there is no mista 
king the cut of your eye. Faith, but you can smile, 
I see," he added, more freely. " There's no more 
mistaking your smile than your black, ugly frown ! 
So, suppose we shake hands, and, after we get the 
chest aboard for they say you don't want this sort 
of ballast in the seas down below why, we'll 
empty a can together, and spin a yarn about old 
times before the cock crows !" 

As the intrepid old sea-rover spoke, he extended 
his rough hand to grasp that of the other. The 
young man hesitated to take it, for he was scarce 
sure of his reception when it should be discovered 
that he was flesh and blood. 

" Never mind if your ringers be a little cold or 
so, 'tis the nature o' ghosts. I can give you a grasp 
that'll put warmth into 'em, and last you till you 
get back where you hail from. Come, old friend, 
give us your digits, just to say you ain't offended 
at the liberty I am about to take with your chest o' 
sparklers ; and afterward I will just thank you to 
step one side a bit !" 

The young man smiled at the intrepidity of the 
seaman, and took the proffered hand. 

" Warm ! by the bones of St. Nick ! The old 
fellow below has been keeping you over a hot fire, 
messmate. Well, you must confess, you lived a 


wonderfully wicked life ; and so, as the priests say, 
the devil will fry it out of you. Sorry for you, on 
my word ! Will lay by fifty of these guilders in 
prayers for your soul ! So take heart. Now just 
step aside off that slab, which you stick to as if 
'twas a tombstone, and we'll bear a hand and bouse 
this old box out in the snapping of a bolt-rope." 

" I am no spirit, but a habitant of this world, like 
thyself!" he said, with firmness, and a straightfor 
ward frankness that he wisely calculated would 
have its effect ; "I am a young adventurer, without 
name or family, weal or wealth. I would take ser 
vice with thee, and follow thy fortunes on the sea !" 

The bucanier listened with surprise ; and as he 
became convinced, from his words and manner, 
that he was no shade from the land of spirits, 
which shadowy beings he seemed to fear no more 
than mortal substance, his countenance instantly 
changed, and he surveyed him with a puzzled look 
of surprise and doubt. 

" So ! this alters the case ! Who art thou, then ? 
what art thou doing here and on this particular 
stone ? 'Tis mysterious, i'faith ! Guarding this 
treasure, which no man save Hurtel and I saw laid 
here ; so like him, and not be he ! Yet thou canst 
not be Red Hurtel in the flesh, for his hair would 
be as gray as mine by this time. Thou sayest 
thou art not his spirit. Who, and what, then, in 
the name of St. Barnabas, may you be ?" 

" His son." 

" Ha ! ho ! There it is, as plain as my hand !" 
he said, slapping the flat of his cutlass into his left 
palm. " Priest never had aught to do with thy 
begetting or thy christening, I'll be sworn ! I now 
remember he had a leman-lady in the tower when 
I knew him. A proper youth," he added, looking 
at him with interest, " and as like your father as 


one marlin-spike is like another ! So you inherit 
the old tower, I dare say, and follow in his steps. 
St. Claus and the apostles ! I would not be sur 
prised if you laid claim to the gold here !" 

" I care neither for tower nor gold, good captain. 
To follow your fortunes I alone ask." 

" Do you know what fortunes I follow ?" inquired 
the other, significantly. 

" I care not, so there is work for the free hand 
and ready spirit." 

"A chip of the old block ! There's my hand to 
it. You shall have your will, my brave one ! 
Your father and I were comrades in that cursed 
affair that made the country too hot to hold us. I 
have been a rover since, and, trusting to my gray 
head, have ventured back to carry off what gold I 
heard he had not time to remove. Thou shall go 
with me for thy father's sake, boy." 

He grasped the old man's offered hand, and, for 
the moment, felt that he was less alone in the world. 
What a change had one brief day made in the feel 
ings and destinies of this haughty young man ! 

" Bear a hand, you pale runaways !" cried the 
captain to the men, who, seeing that their spirit 
had proved of flesh and blood, returned, scowling 
darkly on the cause of their discomfiture. " Take 
hold of the edge of that stone, and lift it from its 
bed. Place your hands on the right spot, and it 
will come up like a cork." 

The men made several ineffectual efforts to lift 
it, though even assisted in their last attempt by 
their captain. 

" How is this ?" he said ; " it should move with 
a finger's touch. Ha, I have it ! I had forgot. 
You might heave till you were gray, boys, and it 
wouldn't stir a hair. Look at some of my magic." 



He stooped as he spoke, and pressing the stone 
horizontally towards the wall, it moved from its 
bed, and slid away slowly, as if on wheels, be 
neath it exposing a cavity two feet square and 
about three feet deep, containing an oaken box, 
bound with strong bands of rusted steel. 

" Here it lies, like a biscuit in a bucket ! Let us 
see if the gold has got rusty." 

He searched a few moments, and at length bore 
hard upon a corner of the box, but without produ 
cing any effect. 

" The spring is as tight as if Old Nick had his 
foot on it. Let us try what this good steel, that 
has served me so often at a push, will do now." 

He pressed the point of his cutlass with steady 
force against one corner, when suddenly the lid flew 
up, and a glittering pile of silver and gold, and a 
remarkably shaped dagger, a foot in length, wider 
at the point than the handle, and exceedingly rich 
with precious stones, met their eyes. 

There was a general exclamation of surprise at 
this display of treasure. The young man took up 
the weapon and examined it with curiosity. 

" That belonged to Hurtel of the Red-Hand, and 
he prized it, too !" said the old pirate. " It shall be 
thine, young man ! Holding it with that grasp as 
you do, and your kindling eye, I would swear my 
old comrade stood before me. If nature put the 
father's looks on all children as she has on thee, it 
would be a blind father that wouldn't know his own 
child. But it's only bas hoit ! I mean to say 
that children honestly come by seldom show the 
breed they hail from as some other sort o' craft 
do I'faith, I haven't bettered it much ! But, no 
harm meant, my brave fellow ! Keep that yataghan 
for your father's sake. He knew its use, and, if 
you are long under me " 


" Under you ?" repeated the youth, his natural 
spirit breaking out. 

" Ha ! I like that ! Better men than I will soon 
be under you, I see 'tis in you born and bred ! 
So ! let us heave out this precious metal. Six thou 
sand told pounds, if my memory serves me. Heave 
heartily, boys. There she moves ! Now she rises 
on her toes ! Steady strain. Hearty, hearty. 
There you are !" 

" Hafey golt 'tish dat dere, Evan," said one, 
straightening his bent loins. 

" Ap carnach ! ant yer may will say tat, poy !" 
responded Evan, breathing himself and passing 
the back of his hand across his brow, from which 
started big drops of perspiration. 

They now laid hold of it and dragged it beneath 
the trapdoor : with the united efforts of the men, 
the captain, and even Lester or Hurtel, as for 
the present he should be called they got it to the 
floor above, reascended, and closed the scuttle. 

" You will want fresh hands, captain," said the 
youthful novitiate, at once readily entering into the 
spirit of his new vocation, and thirsting for excite 
ment as a foil to reflection ; " shall I call two of your 
men from the boat ?" 

" Ay, ay ! do so !" said the captain ; adding, as 
he darted away, " True as steel, by St. Glaus ! I 
would rather lose the gold than lose him. He is 
worth his weight of it !" 

While he was speaking his protege reached the 
balcony, and, bending over, ordered, in an authori 
tative tone, two of the men to ascend to relieve 
their mates. There was a general exclamation of 
surprise from the party below at the sound of the 
strange voice. 

" Treason !" 

" We are betrayed !" 


" To the rescue of our captain !" were the va 
rious exclamations, in as many different languages, 
followed by glancing of steel and clicking of pis 
tols, several of which were levelled at the win 

" Ho, fellows ! will you not obey?" said he, stern 
ly ; " up, up- with you ! By the cross ! if I were 
your captain, knaves, I would teach you to linger 
after an order was given." 

" Who in the devil have we there ?" said one, in 
a gruff voice. " Shall I pink him, mates ?" 

" Who talks of pinking ? What, ho, ye villains !" 
shouted the captain, who now appeared at the win 
dow. " This youth is my lieutenant, and see that 
you obey him, or I will make a pair of earrings of 
a brace of you for the main-yard-arms." 

" That's another thing," said several voices. " Or 
ders is orders, if they come from the devil, so as 
he is got the commission in his pocket !" 

" Two of the strongest of you lubberly oxen, 
clamber up here. Spring ! be nimble ! nimble ! 
Back the boat directly under, and keep her steady." 
A moment afterward two of the men reached 
the top of the rock and sprung into the balcony. It 
took but a short time to get the chest upon the 
balustrade, lash it with the rope they had brought, 
rig a fall with a brace of oars, and swing it off. 
" Stand ready below there !" cried the captain. 
" All ready." 

" Handle it as if it was a baby. Gently, gently, 
or you will knock the boat's bottom out ! Swing 
it more aft ! There, now, let her drop amidships ! 
Easy not too fast ! There she lies between the 
thwarts like a pig in a pillory !" 

The box was safely lowered into the launch, and 
followed with alacrity by the men : the captain and 
his new lieutenant were also preparing to go down, 


when each, at the same instant, felt himself touch 
ed from behind, and, turning round, Elpsy confront 
ed them. 

" Who art thou, in the name of Beelzebub's 
mother ?" demanded the captain, staring with aston 
ishment, not unrningled with superstitious dread, on 
the deformed and hideous being who had so sud 
denly and mysteriously appeared to him. 

" I would speak with thee, Edmund Turill !" 

" Then thou art Sathanas !" he cried, with aston 
ishment ; " how knowest thou me ?" 

"It matters not. I know thee," she replied, in a 
tone of mystery. " That youth goes with thee ?" 
she added, inquiringly. 

" He does !" 

" See, then, that he is well treated, and receives 
not ill at thy hands. Remember, once thou hadst 
a son !" 

" Who art thou, i'the name of all the saints, wo 
man ?" 

" It matters not. When thou thinkest of thy 
poor boy's bones, gibbeted for sharing thy guilt o'er 
the gate of Cork, the winds whistling through them 
with a sad wail, look kindly on this youth, and take 
him to thy heart, as if he were thine own flesh and 
blood!" " 

" I will do it," he said, with emotion. 

" Swear it." 

" I swear it !" 

" 'Tis well. One question I have to ask thee, 
and truly answer it." 

" Name it, woman !" 

" Where wanders Hurtel of the Red-Hand ?" 

"'Tis said he died in the Indies !" 

" 'Tis false !" she cried, with energy. " He can 
never die unaccursed by her he has wronged. No, 
no ! he will have one to watch his pillow in his dy- 


ing throes he would rather burn in hell, to which 
he is doomed, than see. No, no ! his time has not 
yet come ! his master will not let him slip out o' 
life so easily. Oh, it will be a glory to see him 
die ; and mock his groans ; and laugh, laugh at his 
terrors ! Ha, ha, ha ! Oh, will it not be a jubilee 
to see him struggle with the death !" 

" I'God's name, woman, tell me who thou art ?" 

" Dost not behold what I am ? Wouldst have 
fair winds, I will raise thee foul : wouldst have a 
smooth sea, I will make it boil and hiss : wilt say 
a prayer, I will turn it into a curse ere it can leave 
thy lips." 

" Avaunt, sorceress !" he cried, crossing himself 
with horror. 

" Ha, ha ! so you can feel my power ! Oh, well ! 
it is a-pleasant to make men's stout hearts quake. 
Dost know me ?" she asked, impressively, ap 
proaching her face close to his. 

" No !" he said, retreating and preparing to de 
scend the rock. " Avoid thee, Sathanas !" 

" Listen !" she said, approaching and laying her 
hand on his arm, and whispering low in his ear. 

" Thou /" he exclaimed, instantly starting back, 
and surveying her with mingled surprise, curiosity, 
and disgust. 

" Wouldst care to leave thy revels and their 
lord, and, stealing to her lone room, offer thy drunk 
en love to her now ! Ha, ha, ha ! Does she not 
look a comely leman for thy licentious love ?" she 
added, with malicious irony. 

He gazed on her a few seconds by the light of 
the moon, and seemed too much overpowered by 
surprise to speak. At length he said, in a tone of 

" Hideous as thou art, it must be as thou sayesl, 
for only thus could I be known to thee ! But, 


holy St. Claus !" he added, in a tone, " this lad 
is he" 

" No matter who he is ! see thou harm him 
not !" 

. "I will be a father to him, woman! Tore Heav 
en," he exclaimed afresh, gazing upon her with 
mingled curiosity and pity, " was there ever such 
a " 

" Mind me not ! spare your sympathy ! Go ! 
Stay !" she cried, earnestly recalling him ; " if you 
ever meet him, breathe not into his ears what and 
whom you have this night seen. I have made my 
self known to thee for this youth's sake. Fare 
well, young man," she said, approaching Lester as 
he stood on the rock, to which he had bounded 
from the balcony at the beginning of their confer 
ence. She extended her hand as she spoke. He 
took it, and grasped it warmly, saying, in a sooth 
ing tone, 

" Good-by, Elpsy. I have no ill-will against 
thee in my heart. Thou hast done but thy duty !" 

The sorceress seemed to be moved, turned away 
from him without speaking, as if her feelings choked 
utterance, and stalked away through the hall, and 
left the tower. 

" Come, my lad," said the captain, turning away 
and speaking with feeling, after following with his 
eyes her retreating form till it disappeared in the 
forest, " she is a poor, unhappy creature, and it'll 
come hard, I'm thinking, on him that made her so. 
But this is no time for sentiment. Let us aboard 
and make an offing ere the dawn ; for, if we are 
spied lying here, we shall have the king's bulldog 
down upon us from windward I saw lying in Cor 
Bay, who will bark to some purpose if he should 
catch us here on a lee shore." 

Thus speaking, the old seaman lightly descended 


the rock to the boat, followed by his youthful lieu 
tenant, and in a few minutes they reached the ves 

The moment his foot touched the deck the cap 
tain gave orders to make sail : the long, crooked 
tiller was put hard up to windward ; the heavy 
mainsail swung back to its place ; the vessel's head 
turned slowly off, and, feeling the wind on her 
quarter, she stood in landward for a few seconds 
to gain headway, and then came gracefully round 
with her starboard bow to the wind. With each 
broad sail drawn nearly fore and aft, she lay as 
near it as her short blunt build would permit, and 
stretched away from the shore on a long tack to 
wards the south. 


' If solitude succeed to grief, 
Release from pain is light relief; 
The vacant bosom's wilderness 
Might thank the pang that made it less. 
The heart once left thus desolate 
Must fly at last for ease to hate." 

The Giaour. 

THE narrative once more returns to Mark, who, 
it will be remembered, had arrived, on his way to 
Castle More, at a ruin in the midst of the forest 
he was traversing, when the approach of two horse 
men caused him to withdraw from the path. As 
he did so, they were encountered and stopped by 
some one who unexpectedly met them as they were 


galloping past the lonely pile. Curious to know 
who they were and what could be their business 
at that late hour, he entered the deep shadow of the 
tower, and approached so near them as to discover 
that the men wore the livery of Lady Lester, and 
that the person with Whom they were talking was 
none other than the witch Elpsy, with whose per 
son he had been familiar from childhood. 

After Elpsy disappeared from the eyes of the old 
bucanier and his young lieutenant at Hurtel's tow 
er, she had continued to move rapidly through the 
forest towards Castle Cor, without turning either 
to the right or left. Sometimes she would skip for 
ward with mad hilarity till exhausted ; at others, 
leap, and clap her hands, and shout, till the dales of 
the old wood rung again with her shrieking laughter. 
From the unnatural speed, and the wild, straight 
forward direction in which she moved, her sole ob 
ject seemed to be to reach some point for which 
she aimed in the least possible time. The scared 
owl hooted aloud at her approach, and flew, with a 
heavy flap of his thick wings, deeper into the wood ; 
the hawk left his nest with a shrill cry ; the deer 
fled from her path ! On, on she bounded and leap 
ed mocking their notes of terror, like a demon pur 
sued. At limes, when she crossed an open glade, 
where the moon poured down her \inobstrucied 
radiance, she would suddenly stop and mutter, but 
without appearing to notice the pale orb the sight 
of which, by directing her thoughts into another, 
but not less turbulent channel, seemed to have ex 
ercised a momentary influence on her. She had 
travelled six miles in less than one hour's time, 
when she suddenly stopped in the full light of the 
moon, looked up, and shook her open hands to 
wards it with a laugh of derision. 

" Oh, ho ! you need not look and watch, and 


watch and look, and keep your pale face and shining 
eyes always fixed on me ! Dost think I would com 
mit murder? and the little twinkling stars peer 
down as if they could espy a knife in my hand ! 
Look, ye little glittering winklings," she cried, 
spreading upward her open palms, "dost see a 
knife ? Ha, ha, ha ! ye are out there. I am too 
much for ye. No, I know ye well, with your wink 
ing and your blinking at each other, and how, in 
the darkest night, one of you always keeps watch, 
to spy the murders done in the absence o' the sun ; 
and then you whisper it through heaven, and tell it 
to the earth, and then we hang for it. Oh, ho ! I 
have a charm will put you to sleep. Ha ! you 
laugh, and grin, and gibber, that I have lost in a 
half hour's tale what I have won by years of si 
lence. Well, well, there'll be a time ! there'll be a 
time !" 

Dropping her head, she appeared a moment as 
if in sullen thought, and then muttered, in a tone 
and manner which, more than words, gave a key 
to the wild phrensy that had hitherto possessed 

" If he cannot be Lord of Lester, neither shall 
HE ! He dies ! The eye of the moon pierces not 
this wood ! He dies ! 'Tis long yet to dawn," 
she abruptly added, moving forward, and speaking 
with more coherency. " If I can find him ere the 
myrmidons of Lady Lester can reach him, should 
she send for him, Castle More will ne'er own other 
lord than he who, but for my foul tongue may it 
wither in my throat! would now have been Lord of 
Lester. He dies ! dies ! dies ! dies !" and, hasting 
her footsteps, she continued to repeat the word at 
every stride, accompanying it with a threatening 
gesture of her arm. 

Her rapid speed soon brought her to the ruins of 


the abbey. Bounding like an ape over the fallen 
blocks, she entered the door in the tower, and with 
an unfaltering step traversed the gallery to her sub 
terraneous abode, which, after Lester's angry and 
fruitless pursuit of her, she had left for Muriel's 
tower, fearing that he might despatch a party from 
Castle More in search of her, for the purpose, by 
her death, of effectually silencing all question of his 

Entering her subterranean abode, she produced 
a light without flint, or steel, or fire, but by smartly 
drawing two marks, in opposition to the sign of the 
cross, on the wall with a small stick, the end of 
which immediately emitted a blue flame, and, after 
a fierce, hissing noise, shot up into a bright blaze. 
This, to the peasantry who had witnessed it, was 
one of the strongest evidences of her being in 
league with the devil, who, it was asseverated, 
kindled her stick for her in the unquenchable fire. 

She lighted a fragment of a rush candle by the 
flame, and, opening a small box containing me 
dicinal preparations, took therefrom a small vial 
containing an amber-coloured liquid, and held it to 
the light. She looked at it for a while with a look 
of vengeful satisfaction, and then placed it in her 
bosom ; afterward she took a rusty poniard from 
a crevice in the wall, carefully felt its point, which 
was ground to a keen edge, and, with a look of sat 
isfaction, thrust it up into her sleeve. Then extin 
guishing the light, she hastened past the tomb of 
Black Morris, and with a quick, determined step, 
traversed the gallery towards its outlet. 

As she approached it she heard the tramp of 
horses. With a quick, apprehensive cry, as if she 
at once divined the cause, she flew through the 
passage into the moonlight, and saw two horsemen 
approaching at a round pace, and going in the di- 


rection of Caslle Cor : as they came nearer, she 
recognised them as the chief forester and the sen 
eschal from Castle More. She permitted them to 
gallop along the road till they were within a few 
feet of her, when she suddenly stepped forth from 
the black shadow of the tower, and, with one arm 
outstretched brandishing the stiletto, confronted 
them. The riders, taken by surprise, pulled their 
horses back to their haunches, and both instantly 
exclaimed, with superstitious dread, 

" Elpsy !" 

These were the horsemen Mark turned from his 
path to avoid. 

" I am Elpsy," she repeated, in a lofty tone, 
" Whither ride ye, so fast and free ? 

" If ye do not tell me true, 
Horses each shall cast a shoe, 
And evil bide ye, ill betide, 
As ye on your journey ride !" 

" There be strange doings at the castle, mother," 
said the seneschal, pitching his voice to the true 
gossiping tone ; " there's me young loord " 

" Fait ! but it's jist this " interrupted the other ; 
" our young masther, Lord Robert, is not masther's 
son at all at all, and masther's son " 

" Murther ! an' it's you dat have it wrong, Ennis, 
honey," cried the other, interrupting him in his turn ; 
" it's jist this, ould Mither Eelpsy ; Lord Robert is 
not my Lord Robert at all at all, and the raal Lord 
Robert is " 

" And is it not the very woords I was afther tilling 
the crathur ?" interrupted the forester. " I will 
give it to ye, Eelpsy, dare, in the right way." 

" Hist with your tongues !" cried the impatient 
woman, having heard enough to convince her that 
Robert had told the truth in saying that he openly 
published his own shame. " Hold with your sense- 


less words, fools ! I can tell ye more than both of 
ye together, and all Castle Cor, know." 

" We know dat, ould mither ! Don't forget to 
crass yourself, Jarvey, honey," added the speaker, 
aside, making the sign of the cross on his breast. 
" It's the great dale ye know, and the likes o' ye, 
and it's not we that is to gainsay it this night." 

"Whither ride ye?" she demanded, impatiently 
taking hold of the bridle of one of the horses. 

" Och, an' isn't it to bring with all speed that 
young jintleman o' the world, Mark Meredith, the 
ould fisherman's son, to be sure, to Castle More," 
said the forester. 

" At whose bidding ?" she demanded. 

" Our lady's, the jewil !" answered the senes 

" Go back, and tell the Dark Lady of the Rock 
that thus says Elpsy, the sorceress : ' He whom 
she seeks she will never find !'" 

" But it's the disthress she'll be in," said the sen 

" And it's the deep grief o' the world that's upon 
her now," added the other. 

" Och, but it will be bad news to be afther bring 
ing back to her that sint us," pursued Ennis, with 
a howl. 

" Widout iver having gone at all at all," said 
Jarvey, in a tone of grief. 

" A cush-la-ma-chree, Jarvey, but it's find the 
lad we must !" cried Ennis, with sudden resolution. 

" And it's the ould mither that's here, bliss her, 
'11 maybe till us where he may be jist at this pres 
ent," added Jarvey, insinuatingly. 

" Do you hesitate to obey me ! Go back, even 
as you came. If she ask you where the lad is, tell 
her Elpsy has said, ' Lester has no lord .'"' 

" Och, hone ! and will it be the world's thruth, 

VOL. I. S 


Elpsy, hinney ! It'll break the spirit of her, in her 
lone bosom." 

"And whal'll the castle do widout a lord! 
That I should live to see it !" wailed the senes 

" And must we go back to the Dark Lady wid 
dis heavy sorrow to the fore ?" asked the forester. 

" E'en must ye ! So !" she cried, turning, with a 
sudden jerk of the rein, the head of one of the 
horses towards the direction in which they had 
come. " Ride, ride," she added, in a commanding 
but wild tone, "nor look behind till ye are safe 
within the gates, lest ye care to see the evil one 
astraddle of your crupper." 

" The houly crass protict us !" they both ejac 
ulated, crossing themselves. 

" Good e'en to ye, mither. It's yourself is the 
crathur for knowing the world's thruth," added Jar- 
vey, as if by flattery he would disarm any evil in 
tention she might cherish in reference to himself. 

"And it's to her we're indibted for not riding 
tree leagues for nothing at all at all, whin the lad's 
not to the fore ! Faix, it's my thanks ye have, ould 
Elpsy, for't, an' its yer due, were ye the ould divil 
himself," returned Ennis, gathering up his rein. 
" Kape your head straight between yer shoulder, 

" It's me, honey, will niver be afther looking be- 
hint," replied Jarvey, setting his face towards Cas 
tle More. 

Thus taking leave of the wily woman, these two 
old simple-minded retainers rode back again ; their 
obtuse minds probably scarce comprehending the 
nature of the loss Lady Lester had met with, the 
exchanged fortunes of their late young master, nor 
the important object of their mission. 

She looked after them as they galloped away 


till they were lost in the gloom of the forest, 
when, clapping her hands, she broke into a peal of 
frantic merriment, which was more like the shriek 
of a fiend than like human laughter. 

" Ah, ha ! have I not done it well ! I met them 
here just in time. Satan stands my friend yet ! If 
he did make me lose the game, he has helped to 
keep another from winning it. No, Lester shall 
never have a lord at the expense of him who, but 
for my accursed tongue and his silly honour! 
would still have been its master. Ho, ho ! have I 
not done it ! Now it remains for me, ere he can 
learn the secret of his birth, to send him where low 
and highborn are all on a level ! This ! and, if this 
fail, this" she said, grasping first the vial and then 
the dagger, " shall do my will ! It's a wicked act 
I know it ! 'tis a deed of hell ! I would not harm 
the poor lad no ; for he is like an own child to 
me but, then, he is not my child and shall I see 
him in the seat from which he has been cast out ? 
No, no, this steel shall drink this poison shall dry 
up, his noble blood first !" 

" Of whom do you speak in such fearful words, 
mother ?" 

She started with mingled terror and astonish 
ment, and beheld standing at her side the uncon 
scious object of her thoughts. Her surprise at his 
sudden, and, as she at first believed, supernatural 
appearance, for the moment deprived her of her 
speech ; she dropped the hand that held the vial, 
which was dashed in pieces against a stone, and 
gazed on him for several seconds with a disturbed 
and remorseful countenance. 

" Did you hear all my words ?" she at length had 
the resolution to ask, advancing a step towards 
him, and speaking in a deep, husky tone. 

" No, mother. I have been in the shadow of 


yonder bastion, waiting the departure of those 

" Then you could not hear their speech ?" she 
interrogated, with an eagerness of voice and man 
ner that he could not account for. 

" No," he answered, firmly. 

" You have not spoken with them ?" 

" No." 

" They have not told you that is, you are Mark 
Meredith, the grandson of old Meredith, the fish 
erman ? Speak, boy !" 

" Surely I am, Elpsy ; do you not discern my 
face by this moon ? I fear," he said, in a kind 
tone, " you have not taken good care of yourself of 
late, and are a little fevered. Go down to our hut, 
if you can walk so far, and you will find a meal of 
fish there, of my own taking, which I left my 
grandsire preparing for me. Bid him give you my 
portion. Good-night, Elpsy, I have business at 
Castle More." 

As he spoke he stepped aside to pass her and 
pursue his way. His hospitable and kind invita 
tion had touched her. She was not so seared that 
gentleness and words of kindness could not find a 
vibrating chord within her bosom. Gradually, as 
he spoke she relaxed her hand from its grasp on the 
poniard, which, on discovering him, she had instinct 
ively concealed in the folds of her scarlet cloak, and 
extended it towards him in a grateful manner. But 
the expression of his intention to proceed to the 
abode of Lady Lester caused her suddenly to draw 
it back, while in a quick, harsh tone of voice, and 
with great vehemence of manner, in which alarm 
and apprehension were visible, she cried, 

" Castle More ! What hast thou to do at Castle 
More ?" 

" I bear a message to Robert of Lester ! Detain 


me not, Elpsy ; I have already lingered on the 

Who sends thee ?" 

' The young lady of Bellamont." 

' Thy message ?" 

: I know not. 'Tis in this sealed pacquet." 
Is this all for which thou art sent ?" 
It is." 
No instructions no commands ?" 

' None, save to make no delay at Castle More, 
lest my young lord and I should renew a quarrel 
we had this day." 

" Nothing else ?" 

"Nothing. But why these rapid questions 
this anxiety of manner? What has come over 
thee, Elpsy ?" he asked, with surprise. 

She had put this series of interrogations to him 
with an irresistible energy and rapidity, that left 
him no alternative but direct and instant replies. 
At first she gave him no answer ; her face work 
ed convulsively, and she seemed to be contending 
with some strong feelings, that she in vain strove 
to get the mastery over. At length she muttered 
within her lips, 

" I had feared ! But 'tis safe, safe. 'Tis a pity 
to slay the fair young lad ; but, if I do not, he will 
know that which he never must know become 
that he never shall become ! He must not see 
Castle More. He must die rather ! Mark, come 
to me," she said, in a hollow and unearthly tone ; 
" I would whisper in your ear what I would not 
have the laughing and grinning devils that flit about 
us in the air, hear ! Come to me and listen !" 

While she was speaking she nervously grasped 

the handle of her dagger, and took a step towards 

him. Her manner hitherto had already aroused 

his watchfulness, and the tone of her invitation by 

S 2 - ^ 


no means increased his confidence. He did not, 
indeed, suspect any attempt upon his life by her; 
but, being familiar with her restless and violent na 
ture, he was prepared to expect some annoying 
violence ; and for this he was cautiously on the 

" Wilt not approach ?" she said, in a coaxing 
tone. " 'Tis a sweet and fair tale I would tell 
thee ! Ha, ha ! as fair and sweet as I told the 
Lord Robert yestere'en ! Wilt not come ?" she 
shouted, as she saw he continued to step back as 
she advanced ; " then will I come !" 

She, with these words, made a spring towards 
him, seized him suddenly by the breast, and bran 
dished her poniard in the air. He was not unpre 
pared for this, sudden as it was : he caught her up 
raised arm, and bent it backward over her head 
till she shrieked with pain, and, with a cool and 
determined exertion of his whole strength, cast her 
from him so violently as to hurl her to the earth. 
She sprang to her feet like a cat, and, with a yell 
of rage, again leaped upon him. He avoided her 
attack by lightly springing to one side, when, miss 
ing her blow, she fell forward and struck her head 
on the edge of a stone, and sunk to the ground 
senseless and bleeding. 

He instantly flew to her relief, lifted her from 
the earth, and attempted to assuage the flow of 
blood from a severe contusion that she had received 
on the forehead. In a little time the loss of blood 
restored her to consciousness ; it also had the effect 
of subduing her high fever of excitement, and 
making her comparatively calm. She permitted 
him to bind a handkerchief, that he took from his 
own neck, across her temples ; but she neither 
spoke nor acknowledged his attentions, but sat in 
sullen silence on the ground. 


" Elpsy," asked the youth, at length, " why do 
you seek my life ?" 

" You can never know !" she replied, slowly 
shaking her head with morose inflexibility. 

" Have I wronged you ?" 

"Ask me not!" 

" Is it thirst for blood, evil woman, that drives 
thee to this crime ?" 

" I would not slay thee, but thou and I, boy, can 
never live in the same land !" she said, obstinately. 

" Thou mightst have spared this attempt, then, 
on my life, for soon the deep sea will roll between 
me and my native isle." 

"How ! Explain your words !" she asked, with 
awakened interest. 

" I am resolved, as nature has denied me nobil 
ity of birth, to give it at least to those who come 
after me." 

" Speak on !" she cried, hanging on his words 
with intense expectation. 

" I am going from my father's roof into the 
world, to see if I cannot make men forget from what 
I have sprung !" 

" Is this thy purpose, boy ? Speak truly !" 

" It is, Elpsy. Seven hours ago I had nearly 
linked my fortunes with the yacht that takes the 
earl to England on the morrow but " 

" But, what ?" she eagerly demanded. 

" My father I thought of him, and " 

" Would not." 

" I cannot desert him to suffering and want." 

" And is this all ?" she asked, her face lighting 
up with a newly awakened thought. 

" The sole cause." 

She began eagerly to search her belt, and drew 
forth from it a heavy purse. Shaking it with a grat 
ified air, she then poured its glittering contents on 
the ground beside her 


" See that pile of gold ! To-morrow go in this 
king's ship, and it shall be yours there are three 
hundred guilders told 'twill give the old man food 
and raiment for a longer life than his will be, and 
afterward buy a coffin for his bones. Wilt go ?" 

" Mother," said he, his heart leaping with joy 
and hope, yet both tempered with the doubt to 
which he gave utterance, " this wealth ! is it thine ? 
How came you by it ?" 

" It matters not." 

" I dare not touch it. I fear 'tis the price of sin 
or, perhaps, of blood." 

" Fool ; 'tis wealth I've had in store these eigh 
teen years, given to me by times by one who, if 
'there be justice in Heaven or hell, is now accursed 
on earth. There is no more evil in it than in every 
piece of gold that the earth contains all gold is 
evil it is all but the price of honour, of honesty, 
or of human blood. Take it, and depart from this 

He gazed on the glittering heap, and hope, by its 
aid, pictured bright visions of the future, and the 
fruition of all his aspiring wishes. Ambition once 
more awakened in his heart. Yet he hesitated. 
But, while he did so, he thought of Kate Bella- 
mont of the proud Lester of his hopes of the fu 
ture of all that he had loved to contemplate ; he 
even gave a thought to Grace Fitzgerald : all that 
an aspiring mind like his, at such a time, could 
be influenced by, had its effect upon him. She 
narrowly watched his countenance, read rightly his 
thoughts, and, feeling assured of his acceptance of 
it, mentally congratulated herself that her object 
could be effected without the shedding of his blood. 
She waited till she thought his mind was sufficient 
ly ripe for her purpose, then replaced the gold in 
the purse, and, balancing it in her hand, said, 


" Before you take this purse, I name one condi 
tion of its acceptance." 

He looked to her to mention it. 

" That you for ever drop your present name and 
assume another ; that you never breathe to mortal 
ear the place of your birth, nor give clew to your 

" I gladly promise this for already I had re 
solved on it, Elpsy. I have one great motive for 
doing so. But what can be yours ?" 

" 'Tis no matter. You promise this ?" 

" Cheerfully." 

"Then take the gold for thy grandsire's sup 

" Thanks, thanks, kind Elpsy yet " 

" Not a word of objection. I have two favours 
to ask of thee." 

" Name them," said he, with an eagerness that 
evinced a desire to serve her. 

l< Promise that you will hold no speech with any 
one before thy departure." 

" I do," he said, after an instant's hesitation. 

" Swear that thou wilt never set foot on this isle 

" Nay, I will not swear it," he said, with deter 

" Wilt thou obey me ? Swear it !" she cried, in 
a tone of fierce command. 

" Who art thou that I should yield thee obedi 
ence, woman ? I yield obedience to none save my 
Maker !" 

" Wilt thou swear ?" she asked, with more com 

" Never." 

The resolute attitude he so unexpectedly as 
sumed disconcerted her for an instant. At length 
she said, 


" Wilt thou promise never to return here under 
thy own, that is thy present name ?" 

"Yes, most freely. Now farewell, Elpsy; I 
must hasten to Castle More." 

" You go not to Castle More !" she exclaimed, 
with singular emphasis. 

" I am intrusted with a message, and must de 
liver it." 

" Give it to me, I will be its bearer." 

" Nay, I must myself place it in Lord Robert's 
hands, in person." 

" Give it me, boy ! I will bear it safely to its 

" No, Elpsy." 

" Go to Castle More, and you sail not on the mor 
row," she said, in a determined tone, replacing the 
gold in her belt. 

He hesitated. After a brief struggle between 
his duty to Grace Fitzgerald and her cousin, and 
his own wishes, he at length said, falteringly, 

" May I trust you to deliver it, Elpsy ?" 

" Yes." 

He turned the billet, with its lock of hair, over 
and over, gazed on it long and fondly on every 
side, and, from his reluctance to resign the pre 
cious treasure, there appeared to have arisen a 
new bar to Elpsy's purpose. At length he made 
a compromise with his feelings by slipping off the 
braid of hair, and hastily concealing it in his bo 
som, while he gave her the unsecured packet. 

" Place it only in the hands of Robert of Lester, 

" None else shall see it." 

" Speedily, if you are not too ill." 

" It will take many a harder buffet than that 
thou gavest me to make me ill. He shall have it 
ere thou art half a league on thy return." 


" Then, Elpsy, I go. Fare thee well, and may 
Heaven have you in better keeping than your life 
now gives hope of. Will you call at times when 
I am away to see my grandfather ? He will be 

"Many will be the gossip we'll yet have to 
gether. Now go ! Take my blessing 'twill do 
thee no harm, if it can do no good ! When does 
the ship sail ?" 

" The Earl of Bellamont will return from Kin- 
sale in the morning, and 'tis said that before noon 
she will be under weigh." 

" The sooner the better. Go at once on board, 
nor let the rising sun find thee on the land. Fare 

" Farewell, Elpsy. Don't forget the poor old 
man !" 

" He shall never want while Elpsy lives. Now 
fare thee well, and remember /" she added, im 

They now separated ; the young man rapidly re 
tracing his way to his hut, with a buoyant tread and 
lightness of spirit, his imagination filled with daz 
zling visions of the future ; Elpsy bending her 
steps steadily in the direction of Castle More, her 
soul exulting in the master-stroke of policy she had 
effected. When he was no longer visible, she 
stopped, and, opening the packet, by the light of the 
moon curiously examined the locket and its de 
vice, the application of which, without understand 
ing its motto, she intuitively comprehended, and 
then read the contents of the billet with a loud, 
scornful laugh. 

" And would she meet him now with love ? Ha, 
ha ! The haughty maiden would toss her head, did 
he bear this to her, she knowing his birth. Oh !" 
she added, with a malignant chuckle, " that I had 


let him married her ere this secret had let out 
would it not have been a brave thing then to have 
brought down the pride of these gentles ! If I 
could have kept the secret till their honeymoon 
was over ! Fiends !" she exclaimed, with mad 
dened disappointment, " what precious revenge I 
have lost ! Shall I not have a taste of what is left 
me ? Shall I not yet tell her who and what he is ? 
Oh, will it not be joy to my soul to witness her 
ravings ! I'll do't ! I'll do't ! There's something 
left yet to live for ! There's mischief yet to do in 
the earth. But I must first watch this sprout of 
Lester this fisher's boy ! I shall not have to 
touch his life if he'll get off before he learns his 
true rank ; but I'll follow him like his shadow, 
nor will I take eyes off him till the ship he sails 
in goes out of my sight beyond the ocean's edge. 
Then will I to Castle Cor, and see if Lady Kate 
will receive me, the bearer of this locket, ' with 
love !' Haven't I a tale for her delicate ear ! Oh, 
there is yet something to live for ! Elpsy'll not 
die while there's devil's work to do ! So ! methinks 
I feel a little giddy for walking," she continued, 
tottering against the trunk of a tree ; " but I'll soon 
fall into my old gait. A little bloodletting of a 
moonshiny night is ever good for the health." 

Thus muttering to herself, she turned back to 
wards the ruin, and began to walk in the direction 
taken by Mark, at first slowly ; but, gradually gath 
ering strength with motion and excitement, she soon 
strode through the long, dark glades of the forest 
at a rate that soon brought her in sight of him. 
Keeping so far in the rear as not to be discovered 
by him should he chance to turn his head, she fol 
lowed him out of the wood, then down to the sea 
side and along the beach, till she saw him, just as 
the day broke, lift the latch of the door of his hum- 


ble cot and disappear within. She then sought a. 
recess in the cliff in the rear of the hut, where, se^- 
creting herself in a clump of low bushes that grevv 
about it, she remained concealed until some time afr 
ter sunrise, when she saw him reappear accompa 
nied by the fisherman', and beheld both go togeth 
er to the beach, launch their little fisher's bark, hoist 
the sail, and leave the shore. She eagerly watched 
them as they stood off from the land, and with un* 
speakable triumph saw them run alongside of the 
yacht. With emotions of malignant joy, she be*- 
held Mark take leave of his grandsire and get on 
board, and the solitary old man quit the vessel alone 
and steer in shore towards his desolate hut. As 
his skiff grated upon the beach, she met hirrh 

" So ho, father Meredith ! thou hast been sell 
ing thy fish to a good market. The English hav 
the silver coin, wjiich thou wilt scarce find at th 
Cove ayond. What price gave these warsmen fof 
thy herring the morn, gossip ?" she inquired, as* 
sisting him with her arm from the boat as she 

" It was no sale o' the herring at all, womah Elp 1 
sy," said the old man, shaking his head mournfully^ 
and placing the stone kedge of his boat in a crev 
ice in the rocks so as to secure it against being borne 
off by the ebbing tide ; " it's no a sale o' the fishj 
woman dear, but o' my own flesh and blood. Och 
hone ! och hone ! and it's the ould gray-headed 
man'll never see his face more !" 

He turned towards the yacht as he spoke> and 
stretching forth his hands towards it, wailed aloud : 
at length his lament ceased, or, rathe^ changed to 
a flood of tender epithets, eloquent with the depth 
of Irish sorrow, which he applied to the youth, 
while his dim, eyes were vainly strained towards 

VOL. I. T 


the vessel, to distinguish once more his beloved 

"What means this sorrow, father Meredith? 
Who hast thou sofd ?" 

" The lad my grandson ! a-cush la-ma chree ! 
I have sold him for gold. There, woman, take 
thine again ! I will none of it !" he cried, with sud 
den vehemence, drawing the purse she had given 
Mark from his jacket, and throwing it at her feet. 
" 'Tis the price of blood, and I will not have it, evil 

" Hear me, father Meredith," she said, deliber 
ately placing her hands upon his shoulders, and 
looking him earnestly in the face. " I know the 
purpose of thy visit to yonder king's ship. I know 
whom thou hast left there. Thou hast done well 
and wisely in permitting him to depart. He has 
left gold for thy wants, and has told thee how he 
came by it. 'Twas my gift to him and thee." 

" 'Tis the price o' his blood, woman !" he said, 
with a heavy moan of mingled grief and indignation. 

" 'Tis the price of his life, old man ! Were he 
not now in yonder brigantine, the sands ere this 
would have drunken his blood," she added, with 
fierceness. " Hist ! ask not what I mean. What 
I have said is true. I have sent him away to save 
his life, and that there may be one less murder on 
the earth. Go to thy hut and content thee with this 
gold. 'Tis a friendly gift, old father. 'Twill save 
thee from labour so long as thy life shall last. I 
will come and gossip with thee o' evenings, and, hey ! 
sirs," she cried, skipping -on before him with fan 
tastic gambols, as he placed his slender oars on his 
shoulder, " won't we pass the time merrily ? I will 
make fairies dance before thy door o' moonshiny 
nights for thy entertainment; call the mermaids up 
from the bottom o* the blue sea to sing thee to sleep 


when thou art aweary ; and tell thee tales o' hob 
goblins and spirits till the moon fades in the morn 
ing. Oh, we will have times, father Meredith !" 

" But will he come back, Elpsy, woman ?" 

"The devil forbid !" she responded, half aloud. 
" Ay, father ; thou wilt yet see him return a brave 
sailor, and with piles o' wealth. Faith, sirs, I would 
not wonder if he should build thee a castle with 
his gold, and make a lord o' thee. Ha, ha, ha, 
father Meredith ! thou wouldst make a proper 
lord !" 

" He, he, he ! Elpsy, thou art pleasant. If the 
lad's gone, I'll make the best o't till the saints 
give him back in good time. Come to my hut and 
break thy fast, avourneen ! He was ever o'er lofty, 
and had notions above his class. He was unhap 
py, the creature, because he was not equal with 
the young Lord o' Castle More. Be-dad ! Elpsy, 
honey, one would ha' thought he were of gentle 
blood !" 

She started, and closely scrutinized the old fish 
erman's face ; but, seeing nothing to confirm her 
now constantly active suspicions, she said, 

" He was above his birth, as you say, gossip ! 
The sea will be a school for him, and teach him 
his place. He will make a better sailor than lord. 
Ha, ha, ha ! will he not, father Meredith ?" and 
she laughed coldly and sarcastically as she spoke. 

" He was always a good sailor, Elpsy, woman ! 
Ne'er a ship came int' the Cove he went not up to 
her main truck ; nor a craft lay becalmed i' the sight 
o' the bay he went not aboard and through every 
part o' her. He knew every rope in a ship as well 
as an admiral, the crathur! Ah, woman, he could 
do an officer's duty this day as well as the keptain 
o' the yacht yonder. He seemed to take to a sea 
man's life nat'rally, and it was ever discontented 


he was in the skiff. He loved to talk o' big ships, 
and foreign lands, battles by sea, and storms, and 
shipwreck, and the likes o' them things ; arid, with 
all his high notions, he ever loved a sailor betther 
than a lord, and the sailors all liked him, the 
jewil !" 

" He is in his place, then, father Meredith,'* 
said Elpsy, chiming in with the favourable train of 
the old fisherman's garrulous praises of the youth. 
" Thou wouldst not call him ashore now an thou 

"Nay, I would not say that, Elpsy, woman. 
Yet I begin to think the lad be best where he is. 
Yet it will be a dark day to my soul when the ship 
sails a-sea with him the light o' my eyes ! the 
core o* my heart .' Och, hone ! Sad will be the day 
to the soul o* me, Elpsy, woman ! Come in, cra^ 
thur, honey, an' take a bite o' the breakfast. It's 
you it is that's the comfort o' my lone bosom now, 
avourneen !" 

" No, no, I have much to do the mornin', old 
man !" she said, turning from the door as the fish 
erman, after standing his oars up beside it, placed 
his hand upon the latch. " Take the gold freely ;. 
it is thine !" she added, casting it through the win 
dow upon the earthen floor of the cabin. " When 
^he ship sails I will eat." 

" Take a drap o' the dew, Elpsy, dear !" contin 
ued the old man, the grief, which at his age is al 
ways superficial, having, like a child's, been divert 
ed for the time by the rattling gossip of the weird 

" Elpsy will fast from all save water till the 
masts of yonder yacht are shut from my sight by 
^he meeting of sea and sky !" 

She waved her hand with a lofty gesture as she 
sp.oke, as if she sought to impress the fisherman 


by her manner alone, and strode away from the 
hut towards the path that led up to the castle. 

Grace Fitzgerald, after communicating the re 
sult of her interview with Mark, had left Kate to 
her repose. But, with grief at her feud with Les 
ter, and her lively anticipations of beholding him at 
her feet, to be raised from that humble posture to 
her forgiving embrace, her mind was too active for 
rest, and sleep fled from her pillow, leaving it in the 
sole possession of her ardent thoughts. With the 
first blush of day, her face scarce less roseate than 
the morning sky with the consciousness of her ob 
ject, she rose and threw open her lattice, and turned 
her face, with earnest expectation, towards the for 
est-path which led northward towards Castle More. 
From time to time she would lean far out of the 
window, and, with eager ear, listen as if to catch 
some distant sound. At length, with a look and 
exclamation of disappointment, not undivested of a 
slight shade of feminine pique, she closed the lat 
tice and cast herself upon her pillow again, saying, 
in a tone of wounded pride, 

" I care not ! he is unworthy of a thought ! I 
will forget him and try to sleep !" 

She closed her eyelids, as if, at the same time, 
she expected her fevered thoughts, like the flower 
which folds its leaves together when the sun with 
draws its light, would also shut themselves up and 
leave her to repose. But she now thought more 
vividly and acutely than before. It at length oc 
curred to her that there might have been some de 
lay on the part of the messenger. Perhaps Lester 
had not yet got her pacquet, or had just received 
it, and was now on his way to her ! 

" I will wait a little longer !" she said, unclosing 
her eyes, and rising and going to the lattice. 


A long time she remained here, with her eyes 
xed on the forest path, and her ears acutely set, 
to catch the most distant sound of horses' feet. 

*' He comes not yet !" she sighed, with deep dis 
appointment. " Yet he may soon be here ! Hark ? 
is not that his horse ? No, 'tis a deer bounding 
along to the spring !" 

At the moment a cool vein of wind from the sea 
Chilled her, and, glancing at her dress as she drew 
it together across her bosom, she discovered, what 
she had hitherto been inattentive to, that she was in. 
^ier night-robes. 

" And I dare say I should have run to meet him 
as I am ! What a foolish child ! w she said, blush- 
^ng with confusion and innocent shame. " 'Tis 
fortunate he did not come before ! I will dress, and 
fcy that time he may be here !" 

Hope, hope, hope ! Star of woman's love ! In 
thy celestial journeyings, thou dost never set on the 
limitless empire of her affections. Her wide heart 
^ias no horizon beneath which thou canst go down 
&nd disappear. Patient, long suffering, ever hoping 
to. the last, she steers by thee her' bark of love 
through storrn and danger, faithfully and fearlessly, 
never losing sight of thee till, from her expectant 
eye, death steals the power of reflecting longer thy 
^adiance ! 

When she had completed her toilet, and found 
that there were still no indications of Lester's ap 
proach, she became impatient, and, throwing a hood 
and veil over her head, she left her chamber and has 
tened below. For what purpose she hardly knew 
impulse alone prompted her footsteps. She hasten 
ed through the hall, and descended into ,the castle 
yard, and directed her course towards the forest. 
She had entered the .verge of its gloomy shades, 
which the morning sun Jiad. scarcely yet driven out, 


and was penetrating its depths, when she suddenly 

"Where am 1 going? what am I doing?" she 
exclaimed, as if her feet had been involuntarily 
obeying her thoughts hitherto, and she for the first 
time had discerned that she was really doing what 
she supposed she was only thinking of doing. Such 
absent reveries are peculiar to young persons in 
love ! 

" Am I really going to meet him ? I did not 
know that I did love Lester so. But he would scorn 
me to find me here I will hasten back as I came 
though I scarce have any consciousness how that 
was ! What a simple creature I have made of my 
self. I am afraid of my own ridicule. Oh love, 
love, you do play the mischief with maiden's hearts 
when once you get into them !" she said, sportively, 
yet ending her words with a deep sigh. 

Turning back, she retraced her steps slowly to 
wards the castle. As she approached it, her eyes 
were attracted by the pavilions, which still remained 
standing, and, bending her steps towards the lawn, 
she entered that which had been the scene of the 
yesterday's festival. No signs of the banquet re 
mained all, save the curtains of the tent, and one 
or two rustic sofas within it, were removed. She 
seated herself on one of these, and raising the north 
side of the tent-hangings by one of the silken cords 
attached to them, was enabled, without being seen, 
to command the avenue to the forest. With her 
person bent a little forward, and holding her hand 
kerchief in her hand, as if prepared to wave it at 
an instant's notice, she sat watching in the direction 
in which she expected Lester to appear. 

" I will meet him here," she said ; " I would not 
have even cousin Grace, good as she is, to witness 
our interview of reconciliation. Oh, why does he 


linger so ! Well, Robert, I have been taught a les 
son in a knowledge of my own heart by this ; and, 
let us but meet in peace once more, I will bear much 
ere I will make either you or myself so miserable 

She sighed deeply as she spoke, and a glittering 
tear, like a drop of dew shaken from a spray, fell 
upon her hand. 

"Surely he cannot love me, to linger so!" she 
said, dropping her aching eyes, which had long kept 
watch on the distant path. 

" Proud maiden, thou hast spoken truly ! he loves 
thee not !" 

Kate turned in alarm as the stern, harsh voice 
that spoke these words sounded close to her ear, 
and beheld the weird woman. 

" Elpsy !" she cried, rising and speaking between 
terror and surprise. 

" The witch Elpsy, lady," added the sorceress, 

" What would you, woman ?" 

" Thyself." 

'" How mean you ?" exclaimed the maiden, shrink 
ing involuntarily back. 

"Fear me not, lady !" she said, slowly and with 
mysterious emphasis, as she gazed on the face of 
the fair girl, her eyes gloating with a diabolical 
light ; " I would not harm thy body, while I hold 
the key to thy soul." 

"Fearful woman, if woman, or even human, thou 
art, what terrible meaning lies hidden beneath your 

" Thou lovest Robert of Lester ?" 

"Elpsy, I will not be questioned. Leave me," 
said Kate, her brow glowing between maidenly 
shame and anger. 

But Elpsy, without heeding her command or 


seeming to observe her emotion, said, with the sar 
donic quiet that malice can put on when it would 

"Thou didst despatch a messenger to Castle 
More the last night, lady ?" 

" How knowest thou this ?" she demanded, eva 
sively, startled at her knowledge of what she be 
lieved known only to the parties immediately in 

" Is there aught, daughter of the house of Bel- 
lamont, that happens among mortals," she said, in 
the elevated tone of mystery and supernatural 
power she was wont to assume at such times, 
"that Elpsy the sorceress is ignorant of?" 

" I know thou art a dread and fearful woman," 
said Kate, with a thrill of aversion, " and have 
power to do evil, which, rather than good, I have 
heard it is thy delight to do." 

" Ha, ha ! thou hast well spoken," she responded, 
with a chuckling laugh, that caused the maiden, 
with all her firmness, to shudder and start back to 
the extremity of the pavilion. 

" You fear me. Well, it is what I would have. 
Ho ! 'Tis pleasant to be feared by the lovely and the 
pure by the strong and the mighty ; to be sought 
out by the noble, and have the homage of the low f 
Oh, it's a brave thing, this holding sway over the 
minds of mortals. Kings may govern their bodies 
we hold the empire of their souls ! Ha, ha ! So 
you fear me, trembler ?" 

"An angel would tremble before thee, guilty 
one !" 

" Ha, ha ! I know; it. Thou hast spoken it. It 
is the reward held but to us that we shall one day 
master the good spirits." 

" And how ? Alone by the power of darkness 
and of sin ! You conquer through fear, not by 


strength. Therefore it is that good spirits dare not 
enter the abodes of the prince of evil. Woman, 
thou art fearful ; thy spells sinful ; thy soul lost for 
ever !" she cried, with virtuous horror united to the 
natural enthusiasm of her character. 

" Soul !" repeated the sorceress, with a writhing 
lip of derision ; " soul .'" 

" Hast thou no soul, woman, in the name of God !" 
exclaimed the maiden, appalled by the emphasis 
she laid on the word as she repeated it a second 

The sorceress gazed on her a moment fixedly ere 
she replied, and then advancing a pace towards her, 
said hoarsely, 

" Yes !" 

" Woman," 'continued Kate, with solemn earnest 
ness, turning pale at the manner in which she pro 
nounced this monosyllable, " I know thou art wick 
ed and full of evil ; but thou canst not have bartered 
thy eternal life ? have made compact with Sathan- 
as, at the hazard of thy salvation ?" 

Elpsy was moved with surprise by the energy 
with which she was addressed, and, banishing her 
derisive smile, answered in a more natural tone, 

" By compact no, lady ! none save but with my 
own nature ; even as all who are mortal do barter 
away their souls when they obey the devil within. 
I have served him in the shape of evil passions till 
his I am, soul and body !" 

" Say not so, Elpsy," said Kate, touched with 
pity by the sullen despair and abandonment of her 
manner, although in it not a shade of remorse or 
penitence was apparent even to her charitable gaze ; 
"if you have sinned, there is forgiveness to be had 
of Heaven ! It is not too late to secure your soul's 
future happiness. I know there is much that is 
kind and humane in you when you are not gored 


by insults, or under the influence of angry emotions. 
Abandon your course of life ; seek forgiveness of 
Him who died for the chiefest of sinners. I pity 
you, Elpsy." 

The sorceress hung her head upon her breast in 
silence : her bosom heaved with inward struggles ; 
her harsh features became convulsed, and the maid 
en thought she saw a tear fall from her eyes to the 
ground. Encouraged by these signs of good, she 
added, approaching her in a kindly manner, 

" Cast off this assumed character, if, as I sin 
cerely trust, it is not irrevocably made thine own 
by thy soul's price. I will furnish for thee a neat 
cottage not far from Cormac, the forester's, and 
thou shall have the comforts about thee thy old 
age craves. Do not despair of forgiveness, Elpsy. 
God is merciful, and will meet thee in kindness 
more than half the way if " 

" Angel ! fiend ! mock me not !" shrieked the 
woman, suddenly lifting her face furrowed with 
tears, gnashing her glittering teeth, her eyes flash 
ing, her clinched hands shaking with nervous ex 
citement, and her whole bearing that of a pythoness 
enraged and fear-stricken. " There is no God no 
heaven for me ! Yes, I am bought, body and soul ! 
Talk not to me of your Christ ! For a moment 
I was carried back to childhood as you spoke," 
she continued, with a sudden change of manner; 
" for I have been once innocent as thyself. But 'tis 
past !" she cried, fiercely. " Your words can move 
me no more ! They have pressed out the last drop 
of moisture that remained in my heart ! I am 
adamant now hard hard hard as iron ! Ha, ha, 
ha ! Elpsy a Christian ! Accursed be the name !" 

Kate Bellamont, at this sudden and terrific out 
break from one whom she believed had been soft 
ened by her words, retreated from the vehemence 


of her language and the savage wildness of her 
manner, with the look and attitude of one who 
suddenly beholds the lion which he has tamed 
start suddenly from his playful embrace, and as 
sume all at once the savage ferocity of his nature. 
She was astonished beyond expression by this un 
expected ebullition of feeling, and her mind was ap 
palled both by her terrible language and the new 
ground she had assumed. 

" Elpsy, stand from the door and let me pass !" 
she said, with firmness, yet trembling through every 
fibre of her body, as Elpsy, after speaking, contin 
ued to gaze on her in gloomy silence, and with a 
lowering and menacing aspect. 

" Nay," said the sorceress, placing herself full in 
the way, and speaking with more mildness even 
than was usual to her, " 1 have news that concerns 

" Me F 

" None else." 

Of what ?" 

" The young Lord of Lester." 

" What of him ? Thy looks thy language 
that fearful smile !" 

" Dost love him F 

"It matters not to thee t Speak what thou hast 
to say, and quickly," she cried, with an indefinable 
foreboding of evil. 

" Thou dost, maiden. It is written in every lin 
eament ; speaks in every action yea, Robert of 
Lester is thy second self. Ha, ha, ha! Did I 
not say I held the key to thy soul ay, and I can 
unlock it, too !" 

Having, in the first heat of her vengeance at find* 
ing herself defeated by the course taken by Les 
ter, resolved to divulge to Kate Bellamont the se 
cret of his birth that she might triumph in her hu- 


mility and wretchedness, Elpsy's fertile mind soon 
taught her how best to effect her malicious, and, 
save its wickedness, aimless purpose. She now, 
therefore, in a tone of assumed carelessness, added, 

" But thou lovest him because he is noble like 
thyself ! Were he lowly in name and humble in 
birth, thou wouldst scorn him," she added, with the 
manner of one who is trying the moral pulse of 
her victim : " this is ever the way with the high 

" Were he lower born than the hind who herds 
my father's kine, he would still be Lester, and no 
ble to me !" she said, with a spirit that became her 
lofty beauty and devoted love. 

" This will never do," muttered Elpsy, thought 
fully, intent on her cruel design, and forgetful of, 
and insensible to, the gratitude due to the maiden 
for the kindly interest she had so recently ex 
pressed in her welfare ; in repayment of which, 
with all the maliciousness of a demon, she was 
now taxing her ingenuity to dash from her lips the 
cup of happiness which young love had offered to 

" Were he a cowherd, he would have a cow 
herd's common soul, maiden !" 

" Being common he then could not be Lester. 
But being Lester, though a swineherd, that inhe 
rent nobleness, that is the birthright of his nature, 
would shine out through his mean garb and call 
ing, and make him still, to my eyes, the Lester I 

" Were he a slave a serf ay, chained to a gal 
ley, wouldst thou love him still ?" 

" If misfortune, and not crime, brought him to 
this degradation then should I not love him less, 
but love him more !" 

"If 'twere crime?" 

VOL. I. U 


" Couple it not with his name, woman," she said, 
with flashing eyes. " But why this dark and subtle 
questioning ? Speak, I command thee !" 

" Thou hast no power to command me I no 
will to obey. I will probe her yet deeper !" she 
muttered. " If, maiden, there were a stain upon 
his birth" 

" Well " she quickly interrupted, with painful 
eagerness visible in every lineament of her beau 
tiful countenance : for her feelings were highly 
wrought up, and, excited to expectation of some 
thing evil by the manner of her interrogator, she 
was all nerves and on the rack of torturing sus 
pense. " Well speak, prithee, woman ! Why 
do you pause ?" 

" If 'twere proven he were a a " 

" Say" 

" A nay, 'twill wound thy ears !" 

" Speak I fear not for I know thou canst lay 
no crime to his charge !" 

" A bastard!" she said, laying a deliberate stress 
upon each syllable. 

" Evil woman ! away ! Leave me !" 

" It may be proved that he is not only this, 

" Away ! Oh that I should listen to thy foul 
and slanderous speech." 

" Low-born /" 

" In the name of Heaven, woman, cease ! and 
give me way out, or I will alarm the castle, and 
have thee punished for this insolence !" 

As the indignant girl spoke she prepared to pass 
her, when the woman laid her hand firmly on her 
wrist and detained her, while she said, in a serious 
and imperious manner, 

" Maiden, hear me ! I am not mocking thee ! 
What if I can prove him to thee to be a lowborn 


bastard the son of a peasant-girl, and palmed on 
Lady Lester as her own ?" 

" Thou canst do no such thing with all thy wick 
ed arts to aid thee," scornfully replied the maiden. 

" What if I could do it ! Wouldst love him, 
then V 

" Yes." 

" The bastard ?" 

"Yes, I tell thee." 

" The son of a lowborn peasant ?" 

" He would still be Lester to me, so long as 
honour and truth were the habitants of his bosom." 

" Wouldst thou love him then ?" 

" Better and better for each misfortune he brought 
not on himself." 

" Or serf or galley-slave or peasant or bas 
tard, he would still be Lester in the eyes of thy 
love ?" 

" Yes ! Stand aside, and let me pass forth." 

" One word more, fair virgin. I must try," con 
tinued she to herself, "my last card now. Her 
love outwits my invention. 'Tis a shield that turns 
aside all my shafts. I think I now know her weak 
ness, and so will put it to trial. Suppose," she 
asked, in an indifferent tone, "this Robert of Lester 
should take offence at thee " 

" Well " she said, with interest. 

" And should ride from thee in anger " 

" Proceed prithee " 

" And, being too proud to atone, lets his pride 
grow till it beget hatred and scorn of thee " 


" And so, from wounded love and rage, he for 
swears his noble name, and leagues himself with 
pirates ; and, out of revenge to thee, goes forth to 
slay, and deluge the earth with blood and rapine !" 

" Have you done ?" she asked, in a tone of dis- 


dain for what she deemed the idle words of the 

" I have," she answered, with a peculiar smile, 
that troubled and perplexed her. " But I would 
ask thee wouldst love him then ?" 

" I will answer thee if such things could be, 
which ne'er can be No. In this case, guilt would 
place for ever an impassable gulf between us. 
But, as thou hast so much interest in him, let me 
pass that I may meet him, for I hear his horse's 
feet in the forest," she said, with the contempt of 
incredulity, yet trembling so well the supposed 
case advanced by Elpsy tallied with the circum 
stances under which Lester left her lest there 
might be some dreadful truth at the bottom. 

" His horse's feet thou wilt never hear more. 
Himself thou wilt never see more, save to thy 

" Explain, woman," she almost shrieked, grasp 
ing her by the shoulders, and speaking with wild 

" Robert of Lester has become even as I have 
spoken. Maddened by thy coldness his pride 
stung his self-love wounded his feelings lacer 
ated, he has fled his home, and leagued himself 
with bucaniers." 

" In the name of the blessed Heaven above, do 
you speak but a tithe of the truth, woman ?" she 
demanded, with fearful emotion. 

" He galloped to the seaside, and a Danish buc- 
anier being by chance in shore, he threw himself on 
board, and put to sea with her." 

" One word, only one word more ! You saw 
this ?" 

" I did, and came hither to tell thee." 

" Would to God I knew if thou didst tell the 
truth or no," she cried, almost sinking upon the 


" Behold this token which he gave me, bidding 
me return it to the giver, who, he said mark the 
words, maiden ! was henceforth only worthy the 
scorn and contempt of the noble heart she had 
broken," spoke the false witch, taking, as if struck 
by a sudden thought, the locket and message from 
her bosom and placing it in her hands. 

" It is too true. Merciful Heaven, sustain me ! 
Nay ! Elpsy, touch me not. I shall not fall. No, 
I will not fall ! If if he can scorn me I nay 
do not support me my pride will will oh 
Lester, Lester you have killed me !" 

With a deep moan, as if her heart were bursting, 
she fell into the arms of the sorceress, who, not 
wholly unmoved by the wretchedness she had 
caused, placed her on one of the settees, and, with 
a look of triumph, gazed on her pale cheek, and 
watched the irregular and long-drawn heaving of her 
bosom. Her success had been complete, and she 
experienced a joy kindred to that of a fiend's when 
he beholds the fall of a good man. She had made 
the happy miserable, and was content ! She had 
wounded the pride of the noble, and was satisfied. 
She had been the bearer of guilt to innocence, and 
her task was accomplished ! 

After surveying for a few moments the lovely 
victim of her malice and of her hatred of the high 
born, which seemed to be placed deeper than any 
other feeling in her bosom, she drew from her bo 
som a small vial, and, removing the stopper, stooped 
over her and moistened her lips and nostrils. The 
volatile essence of the evaporating fluid was in 
stantly inhaled, and produced a reviving effect. 
The colour returned to her cheek, and, opening her 
eyes, she fixed on the sorceress a wild gaze. 

" It is not all a dream, then !" she cried, putting- 
back her hair from her forehead and staring at 


her ; " she is there ! Lester ! is he is he oh 
I cannot speak what I would I remember ah ! 
I remember all. She told me so ! Woman !" she 
all at once shrieked, " is thy tale false or true ? 
Say it is not true," she added, rising and holding 
her by the cloak, " and I will fall down and kiss 
thy feet." 

A triumphant light gleamed in the ruthless eyes 
of the sorceress. " Thou art humbled by grief," 
she said, with torturing coolness. " It is a pleas 
ant thing to see the proud and high come down. 
Oh, if I had been noble too, as well as fair, in my 
youth, I had been a bride instead of but I will 
not wound thine ears, maiden, with a word thou 
canst never know the meaning of. It is only for 
the lowborn virgin to be taught it by some high 
born youth. What I have told thee is true. Rob 
ert of Lester has leagued himself with pirates. 
One day I may tell thee more of him." 

" Hist !" she whispered, hoarsely. " I will hear 
no more of him. He is nothing now to Catharine 
of Bellamont. Hark, there is the sound of horses' 
feet ! He comes ! False one, he is here !" she 
cried, darting forward to the door of the pavilion. 

Elpsy smiled grimly and followed her. 

The sound of horsemen approaching was now 
distinctly heard, but it was the noise of many horses 
advancing at speed. In a few seconds they be 
held emerge from the forest, not the form of Les 
ter, but that of the Earl of Bellamont, attended by 
three or four mounted servants. 

" Has Elpsy spoken the truth, maiden ?" asked 
the sorceress, her eyes gleaming with the unpleas- 
ing smile habitual to her, when she observed Kate 
to turn her face away in disappointment. 

" Torture me not, evil woman ; thy words, 
whether false or true, have almost broken my 


At this instant the earl caught sight of his daugh 
ter, and, turning aside from the avenue, galloped 
across the lawn towards the pavilion. He was a 
gentleman of noble presence, with a dark, intel 
ligent face, and dignified features. The resem 
blance between himself and daughter was instantly 
apparent. He rode with grace, and displayed ad 
mirable horsemanship in the management of his 
fiery steed. 

"A kiss, rny sweet child," he said, as he threw 
himself from his horse beside her. " You are 
abroad early ! What, in tears ? I have not been 
absent three days, and yet you welcome me, Kate, 
with as much emotion as if I had but returned from 
India. Nay, then, weep on my breast, silly one, 
if you will. What, Elpsy here too !" he exclaimed, 
now for the first time seeing the witch standing 
within the door of the pavilion " I see it all. She 
has been alarming you with some evil foretellings ! 
Woman, have I not forbidden thee to harbour or 
appear on the domains of Castle Cor ? Moral 
blight and misfare follow thy footsteps as surely as 
does pestilence the path of the baleful dogstar. 
Depart P 

" I have done mine errand, proud earl, and there 
fore will go but not at thy bidding I depart," she 
added, gathering her scarlet cloak about her hideous 

" I care not if it be at the devil's as it is most 
like to be so I see thee no more ! Cease, my 
dove, that moan. Her charms are sand her 
words false her prophecies the wildest dreams ! 
Heed them not, if, as I suspect, she has filled thy 
tender ears with them." 

" Thou lovest thy daughter, earl ?" she said, 
interrogatively, as she prepared to depart. 

" Too well to see her made miserable, vile sor 
ceress !" 


" See, then, thou do not make her so." 

" How mean you ?" he demanded. 

" Beware of a black plume /" she added, mys 

" Explain your meaning, woman !" he said, 
struck by her manner and the menacing tones in 
which she gave him this prophetic warning. 

The sorceress made no reply ; but, turning her 
face towards the path that led to the seashore, she 
rapidly traversed the lawn, and, waving her hand 
warningly, disappeared down the path leading to 
the beach. 

The cause to which her father attributed her 
sudden and unwonted grief greatly relieved Kate; 
and by allowing him, through her silence, to retain 
the impression he had formed, she was saved the 
embarrassment of making him a confidant of her 
wounded affections by unfolding to him the true 
cause a task, in her present state of mind, impos 
sible for her to perform, and one which, at any 
time, would have been a sad trial to her maidenly 
sensitiveness. In a few moments she became 
more composed : the tide of her affections, which 
had been forced back upon the fountain-head, hav 
ing found a channel in paternal love through which 
to flow, if not in the same direction as before, yet 
nearly in as deep and strong a current. 

She accompanied him to the castle, and for the 
remainder of the morning was so occupied in for 
warding the preparations for his departure and that 
of her cousin, that she had little time to devote to 
her own peculiar sorrows, leaving them for the 
lonely hours that would find her, after they were 
gone, in the solitary chamber, mourning over her 
crushed and blighted love. Yet a faint ray of the 
light of hope shone through the darkness of her 
heart, and the faintly-cherished belief that the tale 


of the sorceress might be false kept her from aban 
doning herself to that hopelessness of grief, shame 
and utter wretchedness into which she would have 
sunk had the truth been made manifest to her, di 
vested of every shadow of doubt. 



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